14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999


Quantal Theory: Ungeheuer's Vowel Articulation Theory As Explanatory Model

Wilhelm H. Vieregge

Department of Language and Speech, Centre for Language Studies, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands

This paper deals with articulatory compensation and the quantal nature of speech. The acoustic theory of vowel articulation formulated by Ungeheuer in 1962 implicitly accounts for properties emerging from the quantal nature of speech as formulated later in 1972 by Stevens. Ungeheuer's theory may be regarded as a fundamental model which explains the basic mechanism underlying the relation between area functions and formant frequencies. In 1970, Vieregge showed that Ungeheuer's theory could be applied to the articulation of plosives, especially to phenomena like transitions and loci. He concluded that small changes in the articulatory domain could cause tremendous changes in the acoustic domain (one essential point in quantal theory). He asserted that there are regions in the vocal tract which are more sensitive to changes in articulation than others. An attempt is made to give explanations for the occurence of quantal phenomena such as plateaus, discontinuities and proximity of formants.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Vieregge, Wilhelm H. (1999): "Quantal theory: Ungeheuer's vowel articulation theory as explanatory model", In ICPhS-14, 2009-2012.