Consonant articulation acoustics and intelligibility in Swedish speakers with Parkinson's disease: a pilot study

Clin Linguist Phon. 2023 Sep 2;37(9):845-865. doi: 10.1080/02699206.2022.2095926. Epub 2022 Jul 14.


Imprecise consonant articulation is common in speakers with Parkinson's disease and can affect intelligibility. The research on the relationship between acoustic speech measures and intelligibility in Parkinson's disease is limited, and most of the research has been conducted on English. This pilot study investigated aspects of consonant articulation acoustics in eleven Swedish speakers with Parkinson's disease and six neurologically healthy persons. The focus of the study was on consonant cluster production, articulatory motion rate and variation, and voice onset time, and how these acoustic features correlate with speech intelligibility. Among the measures in the present study, typicality ratings of heterorganic consonant clusters /spr/ and /skr/ had the strongest correlations with intelligibility. Measures based on syllable repetition, such as repetition rate and voice onset time, showed varying results with weak to moderate correlations with intelligibility. One conclusion is that some acoustic measures may be more sensitive than others to the impact of the underlying sensory-motor impairment and dysarthria on speech production and intelligibility in speakers with Parkinson's disease. Some aspects of articulation appear to be equally demanding in terms of acoustic realisation for elderly healthy speakers and for speakers with Parkinson's disease, such as sequential motion rate measures. Clinically, this would imply that for the purpose of detecting signs of disordered speech motor control, choosing measures with less variation among older speakers without articulation impairment would lead to more robust results.

Keywords: Dysarthria; Parkinson’s disease; intelligibility; speech acoustics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustics
  • Aged
  • Dysarthria / diagnosis
  • Dysarthria / etiology
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease* / complications
  • Pilot Projects
  • Speech Acoustics*
  • Speech Intelligibility
  • Speech Production Measurement
  • Sweden