We report electropalatographic (EPG) data on a rare type of compensatory articulation, namely clicks, in the speech of a girl (S) and a boy (E) with velocardiofacial syndrome. Clicks are complex speech sounds that under normal circumstances only occur in the languages of Southern Africa. Our observations were based on a list of sentences that both speakers read aloud. Results showed that S produced alveolar click [!] for /t/, /d/ and palatal clicks [ǂ] for /k/ and /g/ targets; whereas E produced bilabial clicks for /p/ and /b/, alveolar clicks for the alveolar stops and affricates, and palatal click for the velar stops. In addition, nasal clicks were found in speaker E to replace voiced /d/, /g/ and /dʒ/.
Timing and tongue-palate contact patterns from the EPG data revealed that the production of clicks always involved a sequence of two closures, one in the alveolar and the other in the velar region. On most occasions, the first phase of the click sequence involved alveolar closure. The second involved simultaneous alveolar and velar closures. The release of the alveolar closure resulted in an audible click sound. The final phase involved velar closure only.
The clicks showed by S and E were possibly learned misarticulations that they used to produce plosives with strong bursts in the context of ongoing velopharyngeal inadequacy. Despite their misarticulations, both S and E achieved the phonemic distinction in the place of articulation between the alveolar and velar plosives. In addition, E showed that voicing distinction was achieved occasionally by means of a nasal click.
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