Articulatory Tradeoffs Reduce Acoustic Variability During American English /r/ Production
Guenther, Frank H.
Epsy-Wilson, Carol Y.
Boyce, Suzanne E.
Matthies, Melanie L.
Perkell, Joseph S.
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Acoustic and articulatory recordings reveal that speakers utilize systematic articulatory tradeoffs to maintain acoustic stability when producing the phoneme /r/. Distinct articulator configurations used to produce /r/ in various phonetic contexts show systematic tradeoffs between the cross-sectional areas of different vocal tract sections. Analysis of acoustic and articulatory variabilities reveals that these tradeoffs act to reduce acoustic variability, thus allowing large contextual variations in vocal tract shape; these contextual variations in turn apparently reduce the amount of articulatory movement required. These findings contrast with the widely held view that speaking involves a canonical vocal tract shape target for each phoneme.
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