Morphological Variation in the Adult Hard Palate and Posterior Pharyngeal Wall Purpose Adult human vocal tracts display considerable morphological variation across individuals, but the nature and extent of this variation has not been extensively studied for many vocal tract structures. There exists a need to analyze morphological variation and, even more basically, to develop a methodology for morphological analysis of the ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2013
Morphological Variation in the Adult Hard Palate and Posterior Pharyngeal Wall
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Adam Lammert
    Signal Analysis and Interpretation Laboratory, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
  • Michael Proctor
    Signal Analysis and Interpretation Laboratory, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
  • Shrikanth Narayanan
    Signal Analysis and Interpretation Laboratory, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
  • Correspondence to Adam Lammert: lammert@usc.edu
  • Michael Proctor is now at the Marcs Institute, School of Humanities and Languages, University of Western Sydney, Penrith, Australia
    Michael Proctor is now at the Marcs Institute, School of Humanities and Languages, University of Western Sydney, Penrith, Australia×
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Kate Bunton
    Associate Editor: Kate Bunton×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2013
Morphological Variation in the Adult Hard Palate and Posterior Pharyngeal Wall
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2013, Vol. 56, 521-530. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/12-0059)
History: Received February 13, 2012 , Revised May 27, 2012 , Accepted August 21, 2012
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2013, Vol. 56, 521-530. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/12-0059)
History: Received February 13, 2012; Revised May 27, 2012; Accepted August 21, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 7

Purpose Adult human vocal tracts display considerable morphological variation across individuals, but the nature and extent of this variation has not been extensively studied for many vocal tract structures. There exists a need to analyze morphological variation and, even more basically, to develop a methodology for morphological analysis of the vocal tract. Such analysis will facilitate fundamental characterization of the speech production system, with broad implications from modeling to explaining interspeaker variability.

Method A data-driven methodology to automatically analyze the extent and variety of morphological variation is proposed and applied to a diverse subject pool of 36 adults. Analysis is focused on two key aspects of vocal tract structure: the midsagittal shape of the hard palate and the posterior pharyngeal wall.

Result Palatal morphology varies widely in its degree of concavity but also in anteriority and sharpness. Pharyngeal wall morphology, by contrast, varies mostly in terms of concavity alone. The distribution of morphological characteristics is complex, and analysis suggests that certain variations may be categorical in nature.

Conclusion Major modes of morphological variation are identified, including their relative magnitude, distribution, and categorical nature. Implications of these findings for speech articulation strategies and speech acoustics are discussed.

Acknowledgments
This study was supported by National Institutes of Health Grant DC007124 and a graduate fellowship from the Annenberg Foundation.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access