Comparing tongue shapes from ultrasound imaging using smoothing spline analysis of variance

Lisa Davidson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Ultrasound imaging of the tongue is increasingly common in speech production research. However, there has been little standardization regarding the quantification and statistical analysis of ultrasound data. In linguistic studies, researchers may want to determine whether the tongue shape for an articulation under two different conditions (e.g., consonants in word-final versus word-medial position) is the same or different. This paper demonstrates how the smoothing spline ANOVA (SS ANOVA) can be applied to the comparison of tongue curves [Gu, Smoothing Spline ANOVA Models (Springer, New York, 2002)]. The SS ANOVA is a technique for determining whether or not there are significant differences between the smoothing splines that are the best fits for two data sets being compared. If the interaction term of the SS ANOVA model is statistically significant, then the groups have different shapes. Since the interaction may be significant even if only a small section of the curves are different (i.e., the tongue root is the same, but the tip of one group is raised), Bayesian confidence intervals are used to determine which sections of the curves are statistically different. SS ANOVAs are illustrated with some data comparing obstruents produced in word-final and word-medial coda position.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)407-415
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 2006

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
    • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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