Previous studies reporting the use of ultrasound tongue imaging with clinical populations have generally provided qualitative information on tongue movement. Meaningful quantitative measures for use in the clinic typically require the speaker's head to be stabilised in relation to a transducer, which may be uncomfortable, and unsuitable for young children. The objective of this study was to explore the applicability of quantitative measurements of stabilisation-free tongue movement data, by comparing ultrasound data collected from 10 adolescents, with and without head stabilisation. Several measures of tongue shape were used to quantify coarticulatory influence from two contrasting vowels on four different consonants. Only one of the measures was completely unaffected by the stabilisation condition for all the consonants. The study also reported cross-consonant differences in vowel-related coarticulatory effects. The implications of the findings for the theory of coarticulation and for potential applications of stabilisation-free tongue curve measurements in clinical studies are discussed.