15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Lip Protrusion/Rounding Dissociation in French and English Consonants: /w/ vs. /ʃ/ and /ʒ/

Martine Toda (1), Shinji Maeda (2), Andreas J. Carlen (3), Lyes Meftahi (3)

(1) ATR-HIS, Japan
(2) ENST-CNRS, France
(3) SyncMagic, France

In this study of facial movements during speech, we found a consistent tendency for two native French speakers and an American English speaker (also reported in Toda et al., 2002): there exist two separate lip gestures for consonants involving 'labialization'. The first one is a lip protrusion with rounding (narrow lip area) observed for /w/, and the second is a protrusion with a large lip opening observed for postalveolar sibilants /ʃ, ʒ/. Furthermore, this separation of lip patterns is supported by a factor analysis on the movement data, indicating that these gestures are functionally autonomous. We can relate this fact to the assumed modes of resonance for the consonants: rounding is a requirement for the Helmholtz' resonance of /w/ being responsible of low F2, whereas protrusion can be intended to lower the frequency of frication noise of postalveolars, enhancing the contrast with their alveolar counterparts. The acoustic/aerodynamic function of the large lip opening for postalveolars remains to be explained.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Toda, Martine / Maeda, Shinji / Carlen, Andreas J. / Meftahi, Lyes (2003): "Lip protrusion/rounding dissociation in French and English consonants: /w/ vs. /ʃ/ and /ʒ/", In ICPhS-15, 1763-1766.