Perception of articulatory dynamics from acoustic signatures

Khalil Iskarous, Hosung Nam, D. H. Whalen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the degree to which the articulatory trajectory of the tongue dorsum in the production of a vowel-vowel sequence is perceptually relevant. Previous research has shown that the tongue dorsum takes a path that leads to a pattern of area function change, termed the pivot pattern. In this study, articulatory synthesis was used to generate paths of tongue motion for the production of the vowel sequence /ai/. These paths differed in their curvature, leading to stimuli that conform to the pivot pattern and stimuli that violate it. Participants gave naturalness ratings and discriminated the stimuli. The acoustic properties were also compared to acoustic measurements made on productions of /ai/ by 34 speakers. The curvature of the tongue path and the curvature of the F1-F2 trajectory correlate highly with the naturalness-rating task results, but not the discrimination results. However, the particular way in which constriction location changes, particularly whether the change is discrete or continuous, and the maximal velocity of F2 through the transition, explain the perceptual patterns evident in both perception tasks, as well as the patterns in the observed acoustic data. Consequences of these results for the links between production and perception and the segmentation problem are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3717-3728
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jun
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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