• Bark and Hz scaled F2 Locus equations: Sex differences and individual differences

      Herrmann, Frank; Cunningham, Stuart P.; Whiteside, Sandra P.; University of Chester, University of Sheffield (International Phonetic Association, 2015-08)
      This study investigated speaker sex differences in F2 Locus equations (F2 LEs) based on linearly (Hz) and tonotopically (Bark) scaled formant measurements. F2 data based on English monosyllabic words produced by thirteen women and eleven men were tonotopically scaled and F2 LEs were derived for both the linear and tonotopically scaled formant values. Although the overall sex difference in the F2 LE slope values for women and men was significant for both sets of F2 measures, the magnitude of this difference decreased for the Bark (.047) compared to the Hz (.063) scale. The individual data revealed a significant correlation between the slope values of the Hz and Bark scale [r = .974; p<.0001] suggesting a lawful relationship between the two metrics. Further probing revealed that the F2 LE data from women were affected more by the Bark conversion than the data from men.
    • Development of a tablet application for the screening of receptive vocabulary skills in multilingual children: A pilot study

      Schaefer, Blanca; Bowyer-Crane, Claudine; Herrmann, Frank; Fricke, Silke; University of Sheffield, University of York, University of Chester (Sage, 2015-06-25)
      For professionals working with multilingual children, detecting language deficits in a child’s home language can present a challenge. This is largely due to the scarcity of standardized assessments in many children’s home languages and missing normative data on multilingual language acquisition. A common approach is to translate existing English language vocabulary measures into other languages. However, this approach does not take into account the cultural and linguistic differences between languages. This pilot study explored whether English and home-language receptive vocabulary skills can be objectively and reliably screened using a tablet application. Preliminary data on monolingual and multilingual vocabulary skills was collected from 139 children aged 6–7 years. A tablet application was designed to assess children’s receptive vocabulary in both English and an additional eight languages using a four-choice picture paradigm. Linguistically controlled and pre-recorded target items are presented orally via the tablet in each language and responses are made via the touch screen and are automatically scored. The English version of the test was administered to 67 monolingual and 72 multilingual children, while 38 multilingual children also completed the test in their home language. Test criteria measures, including reliability and concurrent validity showed satisfactory results. These findings suggest that the tablet application could be a useful tool for professionals to screen receptive vocabulary skills in monolingual and multilingual children. Limitations of the first version of the receptive vocabulary screener and future steps are discussed.
    • Onset and phoneme awareness and its relationship to letter knowledge in German-speaking preschool children

      Schaefer, Blanca; Bremer, Maike; Herrmann, Frank; University of Sheffield / University of Chester ; Logopaedie amd Rathausplatz, Ahrensburg ; University of Chester (Karger, 2014-11-07)
      Objectives: The aim was to explore whether word initial onset awareness is acquired before phoneme awareness and whether onset complexity influences performance on identification tasks. In addition, the relationship between onset and phoneme awareness and letter knowledge was investigated. Method: In this study 22 monolingual German-speaking preschool children aged 5;00 – 5;11 were tested. Onset, phoneme identification, and letter knowledge tasks were administered. The children were presented with pictures of word pairs. Both words in each pair shared a single consonant onset, a two consonant onset cluster or the first consonant of a consonant cluster. The children were asked to pronounce the shared sound(s). Additionally, they were asked to name all 26 upper-case letters. Results: Onset awareness tasks were significantly easier to complete than phoneme awareness tasks. However, no influence of onset complexity on onset awareness performance was found. Moreover, letter knowledge correlated with all phonological awareness tasks. Conclusions: The results corroborate that phoneme awareness develops already at preschool age irrespective of explicit literacy tuition. Nevertheless, letter knowledge is closely related and should be linked to onset/phoneme awareness tasks.
    • Phonological awareness in German-speaking preschool children with cochlear implants – 3 case examples

      Wachtlin, Bianka; Turinsky, Yvonne; Herrmann, Frank; Schaefer, Blanca; Catholic University of Applied Sciences; Private Practice for Speech and Language Therapy; University of Chester; University of Sheffield (Elsevier, 2017-06-30)
      Objectives: The aim was to explore PA skills German-speaking preschool children with cochlea implants (CIs) and how these skills may be related to their speech and language skills. Methods: Three monolingual German-speaking pre-school children aged 5;04–6;01 with bilateral CIs were tested. Their cognitive, speech and language skills were assessed. Six subtests of a standardized PA test battery were administered (i.e. rhyme identification, rhyme production; phoneme identification-input and -output; phoneme blending-input and -output). Results: All three children showed distinctive PA profiles. One boy, who had no spoken language deficits, struggled to complete the rhyme tasks but performed well on three phoneme tasks. However, he showed a discrepancy between expressive and receptive phoneme blending skills, scoring poorly on the expressive subtest. The second boy, who displayed grammar comprehension and expressive vocabulary difficulties, showed a mixed profile, with a below average performance on rhyme production. The girl who had significant speech and language deficits scored below average on all six PA subtests. Conclusions: PA profiles in children with CI vary considerably and PA testing should include a range of different PA tasks. The assumed link between spoken language deficits and PA difficulties shown in children with normal hearing could be confirmed.
    • Speaker sex effects on temporal and spectro-temporal measures of speech

      Herrmann, Frank; Cunningham, Stuart P.; Whiteside, Sandra P.; University of Chester ; University of Sheffield ; University of Sheffield (Cambridge University Press, 2014-04-01)
      This study investigated speaker sex differences in the temporal and spectro-temporal parameters of English monosyllabic words spoken by thirteen women and eleven men. Vowel and utterance duration were investigated. A number of formant frequency parameters were also analysed to assess the spectro-temporal dynamic structures of the monosyllabic words as a function of speaker sex. Absolute frequency changes were measured for the first (F1), second (F2), and third (F3) formant frequencies (ΔF1, ΔF2, and ΔF3, respectively). Rates of these absolute formant frequency changes were also measured and calculated to yield measurements for rF1, rF2, and rF3. Normalised frequency changes (normΔF1, normΔF2, and normΔF3), and normalised rates of change (normrF1, normrF2, and normrF3) were also calculated. F2 locus equations were then derived from the F2 measurements taken at the onset and temporal mid points of the vowels. Results indicated that there were significant sex differences in the spectro-temporal parameters associated with F2: ΔF2, normΔF2, rF2, and F2 locus equation slopes; women displayed significantly higher values for ΔF2, normΔF2 and rF2, and significantly shallower F2 locus equation slopes. Collectively, these results suggested lower levels of coarticulation in the speech samples of the women speakers, and corroborate evidence reported in earlier studies.
    • Stern, gwiazda or star: Screening receptive vocabulary skills across languages in monolingual and bilingual German–Polish or German–Turkish children using a tablet application

      Schaefer, Blanca; Ehlert, Hanna; Kemp, Lisa; Hoesl, Kristina; Schrader, Verena; Warnecke, Clarissa; Herrmann, Frank (SAGE Publications, 2018-11-09)