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A method for finding constrictions in high front vowels
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Image of FIG. 1.

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FIG. 1.

Measurement gridlines for the speaker described in Perkell, 1969, shown on a token of /i/. The arrow near gridline 35 shows a local minimum in the vocal tract midsagittal cross-dimensions measured along the gridlines.

Image of FIG. 2.

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FIG. 2.

The midsagittal cross-dimension function for the vowel token shown in Fig. 1, together with typical results of the parametrized constriction-finding procedure and derived three-tube models. The dashed line at gridline 33 represents the posterior boundary of the hard palate; the dotted line at gridline 53 represents the anterior boundary. Gridlines marked with “o” are in the constriction found by the procedure. The arrow near gridline 35 shows the same local minimum as Fig. 1. In (a), the o’s show the constriction found using and . In (b), the o’s show the constriction for and . (c) shows the three-tube model derived from (a); (d) shows the model from (b).

Image of FIG. 3.

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FIG. 3.

The results of varying and over the ranges 1.25–8.0 and 0–10, respectively. (a) shows the length of the constriction (in gridlines) determined by the constriction-finding procedure. (b) shows the location of the center of the constriction determined by the procedure. The black shadow under each plot shows the range of values that yield stable constriction length or location estimates.

Image of FIG. 4.

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FIG. 4.

Results of EASY synthesis of each three-tube model derived from the constriction-finding procedure. , , and are plotted as a function of and . On the and surfaces, points highlighted with an o emphasize the regions around the minimum and maximum values. The regions are values of where the value of the formant was within 2.5% of the minimum or maximum .

Image of FIG. 5.

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FIG. 5.

The number of times each combination of and yielded appropriate constriction estimates. (a) shows the results for constriction length. (b) shows the results for constriction location. Results from each speaker weighted equally, so that the maximum value (not actually attained) could have been .


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Summary of languages, speakers, vowels, and number of tokens used to construct measurement gridlines in this study.


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The purpose of this study was to devise a consistent and robust method for defining vocal tract constrictions in high front vowels. A procedure was devised to find the length and position of the articulatory constriction in high front vowels that is not sensitive to local fluctuations in vocal tract shape and to the constriction-defining parameters. A method based on a visual examination of plots for constriction length and position as functions of the constriction-defining parameters was found to provide stable constriction definitions.


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Scitation: A method for finding constrictions in high front vowels