Research

Projects

Read more about the projects carried out within Speech Lab Groningen.

Methods

Read more about the acoustic and articulatory methods we use.

Projects

Several projects are currently ongoing in our lab. Please see a list below.

A large number of patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease show difficulty with articulation of speech. Speech of patients is often referred to as ‘slurred speech’, which can drastically affect the quality of life of patients. To date, the breakdown of the systems that underlies these articulatory difficulties is poorly understood. Our project therefore aims to shed more light on this issue by measuring the articulatory patterns of speech from patients. By means of electromagnetic articulography speech gestures are tracked and recorded. The analysis focuses on the coordination and timing of these gestures in order to investigate to what extent these features are responsible for the deterioration in the patient’s speech production.

This project is a PhD project supervised by prof. dr. Martijn Wieling, dr. Roel Jonkers, dr. Michael Proctor and prof. dr. Ben Maassen. It is funded by the University of Groningen and Macquarie University.

Contact: Jidde Jacobi (j.jacobi@rug.nl) 

This project uses data-driven approaches to study how pronunciation variation in the province of Groningen and the Low Saxon language area is distributed geographically, and how it has changed over time. In addition, we develop techniques that automatically rate how similar someone’s pronunciation is to a specific regional target pronunciation. Finally, we aim to investigate how dialect affects cognition.

This project is a PhD project supervised by prof. dr. Martijn Wieling. It is funded by the Center for Groningen Language and Culture, the Faculty of Arts of the University of Groningen and the Centre for Digital Humanities of the University of Groningen.

Contact: m.bartelds@rug.nl

With the worldwide ageing of the population, there is an increased prevalence of age-related diseases such as Parkinson’s disease (PD). In PD, speech is also affected. Given the importance of being able to communicate effectively, the ultimate goal of this project is to investigate which aspects of speech – planning or monitoring – are affected most in PD. Importantly, we do not only investigate the produced speech, but also the underlying movement of the articulators. Another goal of this project is to assess if there are Parkinson-specific patterns in our results which may help develop better diagnostic tools and speech therapies.

This project is a PhD project supervised by prof. dr. Martijn Wieling, dr. Roel Jonkers and dr. Aude Noiray (University of Potsdam). It is funded by NWO and carried out within the Center for Language and Cognition Groningen.

Contact: t.rebernik@rug.nl

In this project we aim to investigate how visualizing tongue movements using ultrasound may be used to help a learner to improve his or her pronunciation in a second language (L2). This project is funded by the Groningen University Fund and De Jonge Akademie.

Contact: l.m.de.jong@rug.nl

The Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a muscle disease that affects boys and is caused by a lack of dystrophin (a protein that prevents muscle damage during movements). DMD children suffer from a progressive breakdown of muscles and they become wheelchair-dependent before the age of 12. Duchenne patients also appear to have a delay in speech development. However, the reason behind this delay is not entirely clear. This project therefore aims to investigate if the speech (articulation) of young children with DMD differs from that of healthy children. More information on the effect of age on speech development might help to identify and diagnose the disease earlier as well as improve therapy for older DMD patients. This study uses ultrasound tongue imagine (UTI), through which the movements of the tongue is tracked during speech and later on analyzed.

The project is funded by the De Jonge Akademie. It is carried out in collaboration with Annemieke Artsma-Rus, Aude Noiray, Erik Niks and Jos Henriksen. 

Methods

We study speech production using acoustic as well as articulatory methods, including electromagnetic articulography (EMA) and ultrasound tongue imaging (UTI).

Demonstrating tongue movements for the Dutch astronaut André Kuipers at Zpannend Zernike.