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Research on disordered speech nets Editor’s Award


July 13, 2010

The Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research has selected an article by lead author Julie Liss, an associate professor in Arizona State University’s Department of Speech and Hearing Science, to receive its 2009 Editor’s Award. The article, “Quantifying Speech Rhythm Deficits in the Dysarthrias,” was chosen for the journal’s “Speech” section. 

Dysarthric, or disordered, speech typically results from a stroke or other brain injury or disease. In her research, Liss and her colleagues sought to create a system based on rhythm metrics that allowed for classification of four specific types of dysarthrias. 

Speech rhythm – such as differences in stress patterns – often helps listeners distinguish between different types of languages. For instance, English tends to stress the first syllable of a word, while Spanish tends to have more equally timed syllables. Liss’ research applied this concept to people who speak standard English (control speakers) and people who speak disordered English (dysarthric speakers) to determine whether subjects’ particular stress patterns could distinguish among the individuals based solely on the rhythms in their speech samples. 

More than 80 percent of the time, the analysis of rhythm metrics in the different speech patterns classified the speaker into the right group or subgroup. These findings demonstrate the relative uniqueness of speech rhythm irregularities brought about by different types of brain damage. The work has implications for tracking changes in speech associated with treatment or disease progression, as well as for models of speech perception. 

“An article selected for an Editor’s Award is the one that the editor and associate editor feel meets the highest quality standards in research design, presentation and impact for a given year,” said William Yost, professor and chair of speech and hearing science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “It is truly a high honor.” 

Liss’ co-authors include members of the ASU Motor Speech Disorders Lab (doctoral student Kaitlin Lansford and research assistant professor Stephanie Spitzer) and collaborators at the University of Bristol (Laurence White and Sven Mattys), University of Arizona (Andrew Lotto), and Mayo Clinic Arizona (Dr. John Caviness). 

The award will be presented at the 2010 American Speech-Hearing-Language Association Convention in November. 

Written by Maria Polletta (maria.polletta@asu.edu). 

MEDIA CONTACT
Carol Hughes, carol.hughes@asu.edu
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College of Liberal Arts and Sciences