Fundamental frequency onset and offset behavior: A comparative study of children and adults

Michael P. Robb, Allan B. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Short-term changes in vowel fundamental frequency (F0) immediately preceding (F0 offset) and following (F0 onset) production of voiceless obstruents were examined in groups of 4-year-olds, 8-year-olds, and 21-year-olds. Definitive patterns of laryngeal behavior were observed for each measure. F0 was found to significantly lower at vowel offset across age groups, with no significant differences noted between groups, suggesting that F0 offset is simply an acoustic consequence of producing a voiceless obstruent preceded by a vowel. The F0 at vowel onset was high and significantly decreased thereafter. Age-related differences were identified for F0 onset with 4-year-olds in that their F0 rose to a lesser degree than that of adults. However, adult females demonstrated a greater change in both F0 onset and F0 offset behavior than adult males and children, suggesting that age-related differences in F0 behavior are likely to be influenced by sex. The results are discussed with regard to the physiologic constraints of F0 surrounding voiceless obstruent production in children and adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)446-456
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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