Pitch-related features in the speech of Finnish- and French-speaking boys with autism in data coming from group therapy sessions

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It is known that persons afflicted with autism often have deviant prosodic features in their speech. For example, they may have a limited range of intonation, their speech can be overly fast, jerky or loud, or it can be characterized by large pitch excursions, quiet voice, inconsistent pause structure, prominent word stress and/or by creaky or nasal voice (Paul et al. 2005a; Paul et al. 2005b; Shriberg et al. 2001; Provonost et al. 1966; Rutter & Lockyer 1967; Ornitz & Ritvo 1976; Fay & Schuler 1980; Tager-Flusberg 1981; Baltaxe & Simmons 1985, 1992; Paul 1987; McPartland & Klin 2006; Tager-Flusberg 2000). Moreover, it has been shown that people afflicted with autism have difficulties to produce affective prosodic patterns (Scott 1985). Fine et al. (1991) have however reported that autistic subjects are able to employ useful prosodic patterns for communication. Producing appropriate stress patterns can nevertheless be difficult for them (Paul et al. 2005a, Paul et al. 2005b). Shriberg et al. (2001) report that persons with autism have notable deficits in pragmatic and affective use of prosody, but they do not have difficulties with the grammatical functions of prosody. Deviant prosodic features of speech do not, however, concern every individual afflicted with autism (Simmons & Baltaxe 1975; Paul et al. 2005b). Nevertheless, when these features occur, they constitute a significant obstacle to the social acceptance of the individual (Paul et al. 2005a: 205). Indeed, deviant prosodic features may create an immediate impression of “oddness” (VanBourgondien & Woods 1992), and they affect autistic speakers’ ratings of social and communicative competence (Paul et al. 2005b). The aim of this paper is to present different salient prosodic features occurring in slightly autistic preadolescents’ speech. The data come from authentic group therapy sessions where 11–13-year-old Finnish-speaking boys (N = 7) and French-speaking boys (N = 4) speak with each other and with their two therapists. The paper will focus on the following features: large pitch excursions, bouncing pitch, flat pitch, jerky rhythm, slow speech rate and fast speech rate. Some of these features occur only in Finnish or in French, whereas some others can be found in both languages. It is also interesting that some of them occur all the time in the speech of an individual, whereas some others occur only in certain types of contexts. The analyses have been carried out using methods of phonetics.
Bidragets titel på inmatningsspråkSävelkulkuun liittyviä piirteitä suomen- ja ranskankielisten autististen poikien puheessa ryhmäkuntoutuskeskusteluaineistossa
Titel på gästpublikationStudies in Comparative Pragmatics
RedaktörerHartmut Lenk, Juhani Härmä, Begoña Sanromán Vilas , Elina Suomela-Härmä
Antal sidor19
UtgivningsortNewcastle upon Tyne
FörlagCambridge Scholars Publishing
Utgivningsdatumokt 2019
ISBN (tryckt)978-1-5275-3698-2
StatusPublicerad - okt 2019
MoE-publikationstypA3 Del av bok eller annan forskningsbok
Evenemang Comparative Approaches to Pragmatics - Helsinki
Varaktighet: 22 mar 201823 mar 2018


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