ASA 127th Meeting M.I.T. 1994 June 6-10

1pSP21. What do speakers' tongues do with a suit in greasy wash water?

James Dembowski

John R. Westbury

Dept. of Commun. Disord. and Waisman Ctr., Univ. of Wisconsin--Madison, 1500 Highland Ave., Madison, WI 53705-2280

The sad fact is that little is known about kinematic variability during natural, connected speech. For example, nearly nothing is known about motions of the tongue for one speaker, or across several speakers, repeating the same phrase. Consequently, the generality of common assumptions concerning those motions cannot be judged. The present study describes the spatio-temporal variability of lingual fleshpoint movements during the consonants /t n g/, across five tokens of the phrase ``...suit in greasy...,'' extracted from a 13-syllable sentence repeated by 20 normal American English speakers. Data were drawn from the University of Wisconsin x-ray Microbeam Speech Production Database. This phrase was chosen because allowable allophones for its step consonants permit a wide range of articulatory possibilities for phonetically naive speakers producing connected speech. Results of graphic analyses of fleshpoint trajectories and time histories show that lingual gestures associated with these consonants vary substantially within and between speakers. Moreover, these gestures sometimes differ markedly from expectations based on analyses of these consonants in nonsense-syllable or citation-word productions. Such findings have implications for synthesis and recognition of connected speech, as well as for theories of gesture-phoneme correspondence. [Work supported by NIH Grant No. DC00820.]