Third International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (ICSLP 94)

Yokohama, Japan
September 18-22, 1994

Tongue-Palate Interactions in Consonants vs. Vowels

Maureen Stone (1), Andrew Lundberg (2)

(1) Dept of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Department of Cognitive Science, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA
(2) Department of Computer Science, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA

Consonants and vowels have often been described as two parallel systems of production. To make vowels, the articulators produce slow or tonic movements. To make consonants, the articulators use fast or phasic movements. This paper examined differences in 3D tongue surface shapes for consonants vs. vowels. 3D tongue surface shapes were reconstructed from 20 cross-sectional slices of the tongue surface, each 3 apart in a radial array. Steady state consonants and vowels were measured. The data supported the theory that for vowels, the tongue behaves like a muscular hydrostat. Local expansion and compression patterns follow tongue muscle morphology, and tongue shape is predictable from tongue location. However, for consonants, simple volume preserving deformations do not adequately explain the shape changes. Location, shape and pressure of tongue-palate contact must be known in order to adequately represent tongue shape for consonants.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Stone, Maureen / Lundberg, Andrew (1994): "Tongue-palate interactions in consonants vs. vowels", In ICSLP-1994, 49-52.