Acoustic Properties of Vowel Production in Mandarin-speaking Patients with Post-stroke Dysarthria

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© 2018, The Author(s). This study investigated the acoustic features of vowel production in Mandarin-speaking patients with post-stroke dysarthria (PSD). The subjects included 31 native Mandarin-speaking patients with PSD (age: 25–83 years old) and 38 neurologically normal adults in a similar age range (age: 21–76 years old). Each subject was recorded producing a list of Mandarin monosyllables that included six monophthong vowels (i.e., /a, i, u, ɤ, y, o/) embedded in the /CV/ context. The patients’ speech samples were evaluated by two native Mandarin speakers. The evaluation scores were then used to classify all patients into two levels of severity: mild or moderate-to-severe. Formants (F1 and F2) were extracted from each vowel token. Results showed that all vowel categories in the patients with PSD were produced with more variability than in the healthy speakers. Great overlaps between vowel categories and reduced vowel space were observed in the patients. The magnitude of the vowel dispersion and overlap between vowel categories increased as a function of the severity of the disorder. The deviations of the vowel acoustic features in the patients in comparison to the healthy speakers may provide guidance for clinical rehabilitation to improve the speech intelligibility of patients with PSD.