Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Speech Pathology and Audiology

First Advisor

Stephen Tasko

Second Advisor

Helen Sharp

Third Advisor

Kathryn Hillenbrand


Background: Though the tongue plays a critical role during the oral phase of swallowing, studies have found that the size and shape of tongue movements during swallowing can vary greatly among individuals. One factor that may contribute to this movement variability is oral-pharyngeal cavity geometry. A cavity with a different size and shape may require different movements for efficient swallowing. While there are a number of studies that have attempted to relate the oral-pharyngeal anatomy with features of orofacial movement, these studies focused on speech movements and no studies have directly evaluated the relation between swallowing related tongue movements and oral-pharyngeal anatomy. Purpose: This study sought to assess the effect that selected anatomical factors have on the movements of the tongue during normal liquid swallowing. Methods: Forty-one healthy young adults (18 males and 23 females) served as participants. "Participants swallowed 10cc boluses of water while orofacial movements were recorded using an x-ray microbeam system. The size, speed, and duration of tongue movements were extracted and were compared to estimated dimensions of the participants' vocal tracts. Results: Males exhibited vocal tracts that were taller and larger in area as compared to females. Males also tended to have tongue movements that were larger and faster compared to women. However, correlations between tongue movement parameters and vocal tract parameters demonstrated were either non-significant, or significant but weak.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access