The impact of hypernasality on the perception of prosody

Hypernasality is a speech disorders that results from excessive sound coming through the nose during speech. A speaker afflicted with hypernasality may be perceived as sounding flat and monotonous because the nasal murmur masks the inflections of the fundamental frequency (Kummer, 2008). However, the masking of prosody by the nasal murmur has not been investigated systematically. The first goal of the proposed study is to investigate how the presence of hypernasality affects the listener’s perception of prosodic pitch inflections. My second goal is to find out whether speakers of Brazilian Portuguese are more successful than speakers of English at differentiating prosodic variation in the presence of hypernasality, since Brazilian Portuguese contains more nasal vowels. The resulting knowledge of this study will have practical applications in speech-language pathology related to the counseling of hypernasal individuals with conditions such as cleft palate or dysarthria and may help develop approaches for speech therapy. 

Faculty Supervisor:

Tim Bressmann


Monique Tardif







Globalink Research Award

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