Interspeaker Variability in Hard Palate Morphology and Vowel Production PurposeDifferences in vocal tract morphology have the potential to explain interspeaker variability in speech production. The potential acoustic impact of hard palate shape was examined in simulation, in addition to the interplay among morphology, articulation, and acoustics in real vowel production data.MethodHigh-front vowel production from 5 speakers of American English ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2013
Interspeaker Variability in Hard Palate Morphology and Vowel Production
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Adam Lammert
    University of Southern California
  • Michael Proctor
    University of Southern California
  • Shrikanth Narayanan
    University of Southern California
  • Disclosure:The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure:The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Adam Lammert: lammert@usc.edu
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Ewa Jacewicz
    Associate Editor: Ewa Jacewicz×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Supplement
Research Article   |   December 01, 2013
Interspeaker Variability in Hard Palate Morphology and Vowel Production
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2013, Vol. 56, S1924-S1933. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2013/12-0211)
History: Received July 2, 2012 , Revised December 6, 2012 , Accepted June 19, 2013
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2013, Vol. 56, S1924-S1933. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2013/12-0211)
History: Received July 2, 2012; Revised December 6, 2012; Accepted June 19, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 6

PurposeDifferences in vocal tract morphology have the potential to explain interspeaker variability in speech production. The potential acoustic impact of hard palate shape was examined in simulation, in addition to the interplay among morphology, articulation, and acoustics in real vowel production data.

MethodHigh-front vowel production from 5 speakers of American English was examined using midsagittal real-time magnetic resonance imaging data with synchronized audio. Relationships among hard palate morphology, tongue shaping, and formant frequencies were analyzed. Simulations were performed to determine the acoustical properties of vocal tracts whose area functions are altered according to prominent hard palate variations.

ResultsSimulations revealed that altering the height and position of the palatal dome alters formant frequencies. Examinations of real speech data showed that palatal morphology is not significantly correlated with any formant frequency but is correlated with major aspects of lingual articulation.

ConclusionCertain differences in hard palate morphology can substantially affect vowel acoustics, but those effects are not noticeable in real speech. Speakers adapt their lingual articulation to accommodate palate shape differences with the potential to substantially affect formant frequencies, while ignoring palate shape differences with relatively little acoustic impact, lending support for acoustic goals of vowel production.

Acknowledgments
This publication was made possible by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) Grant R01 DC007124-01. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health/NIDCD.
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