Perception and production of /r/ allophones improve with hearing from a cochlear implant
The following article appeared in J. Acoust. Soc. Am. Volume 124, Issue 5, pp. 3191-3202 (November 2008) and may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.2987427
Tongue shape can vary greatly for allophones of /r/ produced in different phonetic contexts but the primary acoustic cue used by listeners, lowered F3, remains stable. For the current study, it was hypothesized that auditory feedback maintains the speech motor control mechanisms that are constraining acoustic variability of F3 in /r/; thus the listener's percept remains /r/ despite the range of articulatory configurations employed by the speaker. Given the potential importance of auditory feedback, postlingually deafened speakers should show larger acoustic variation in /r/ allophones than hearing controls, and auditory feedback from a cochlear implant could reduce that variation over time. To test these hypotheses, measures were made of phoneme perception and of production of tokens containing /r/, stop consonants, and /r/+stop clusters in hearing controls and in eight postlingually deafened adults pre- and postimplant. Postimplant, seven of the eight implant speakers did not differ from the control mean. It was also found that implant users' production of stop and stop+/r/ blend improved with time but the measured acoustic contrast between these was still better in the control speakers than for the implant group even after the implant users had experienced a year of improved auditory feedback.
Melanie L. Matthies, Frank H. Guenther, Margaret Denny, Joseph S. Perkell, Ellen Burton, Jennell Vick, Harlan Lane, Mark Tiede, and Majid Zandipour. "Perception and production of /r/ allophones improve with hearing from a cochlear implant" Psychology Faculty Publications (2008).
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/hlane/3