The development of skill in producing word-final English stops: Kinematic parameters

Academic Article


  • It was hypothesized that native English adults would be more skillful in producing word-final English /p/ and /b/ than native English children who, in turn, would be more skillful in doing so than adult native speakers of a language (Mandarin Chinese) that does not possess word-final stops. A video tracking system was used to monitor lip and jaw movements. The subjects in all three groups made vowels significantly longer before /b/ than /p/, but the effect seen for the English subjects was three times as large as the Chinese subjects’ effect and depended less on differences in lip closing velocity for /b/ and /p/. The English subjects also showed a difference in duration between /a/ and /i/ that was twice as large as the difference seen for the Chinese subjects. Of the three groups, only the English adults showed significantly greater displacement and peak movement velocity for the final stop consonant of/bap/ than /bab/. This suggested that their central phonetic representations specified a more forceful constriction of the lips for /p/ than /b/. The English adults seemed to compensate more effectively for a bite block in producing the final stops in /bip/ and /bib/. The results obtained for the English children were intermediate to those obtained for the English and Chinese adults, which is consistent with the hypothesized experience-based differences in level of skill. © 1988, Acoustical Society of America. All rights reserved.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Flege JE
  • Start Page

  • 1639
  • End Page

  • 1652
  • Volume

  • 84
  • Issue

  • 5