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Volume 107, Issue 4, April 2000
- SPEECH PRODUCTION 
107(2000); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.428504View Description Hide Description
The present study investigated the relationship between functionally relevant compound gestures and single-articulator component movements of the jaw and the constrictors lower lip and tongue tip during rate-controlled syllable repetitions. In nine healthy speakers, the effects of speaking rate (3 vs 5 Hz), place of articulation, and vowel type during stop consonant–vowel repetitions (/pa/, /pi/, /ta/, /ti/) on the amplitude and peak velocity of differential jaw and constrictor opening–closing movements were measured by means of electromagnetic articulography. Rather than homogeneously scaled compound gestures, the results suggest distinct control mechanisms for the jaw and the constrictors. In particular, jaw amplitude was closely linked to vowel height during bilabial articulation, whereas the lower lip component amplitude turned out to be predominantly rate sensitive. However, the observed variability across subjects and conditions does not support the assumption that single-articulator gestures directly correspond to basic phonological units. The nonhomogeneous effects of speech rate on articulatory subsystem parameters indicate that single structures are differentially rate sensitive. On average, an increase in speech rate resulted in a more or less proportional increase of the steepness of peak velocity/amplitude scaling for jaw movements, whereas the constrictors were less rate sensitive in this respect. Negative covariation across repetitions between jaw and constrictor amplitudes has been considered an indicator of motor equivalence. Although significant in some cases, such a relationship was not consistently observed across subjects. Considering systematic sources of variability such as vowel height, speech rate, and subjects, jaw–constrictor amplitude correlations showed a nonhomogeneous pattern strongly depending on place of articulation.