Articulatory contact pressure between the tongue and palate during normal speech production

Jeff Searl, Paul Evitts, William Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Contacts between the tongue and palate are needed to obstruct or constrict airflows during production of a number of speech sounds, but there is limited empirical evidence regarding the magnitude of the contact pressure between the tongue and the palate during speech. This study evaluated contact pressure generated between the tongue and alveolar ridge during consonant production. Contact pressures were measured with a transducer mounted on a palatal appliance as speakers produced stimuli that varied as a function of consonant voicing feature, manner of production, and oral-nasal coupling. Group data indicated no difference in mean articulatory contact pressure across the six consonants. However, there were differences in pressures generated across speakers. Within-speaker analysis indicated that most individuals did, in fact, produce the consonants with differing levels of contact pressures, but the ordering of the consonants based on contact pressure magnitude varied from speaker to speaker. Additional data are needed to determine the range of contact pressures to expect from nondisordered speakers and to evaluate whether there are important aerodynamic, acoustic, and perceptual outcomes of altered contact pressures. However, the current data add to the limited information on normal contact pressures generated by the tongue during speech production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-292
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Medical Speech-Language Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Rehabilitation
  • Speech and Hearing


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