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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Acoustic Variability and Adaptive Articulatory Strategies During Vocal Tract Growth Revealed by the Rounding Contrast in French

Lucie Ménard

Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada

This paper reports on the articulatory and acoustic variability involved in the realization of the rounding contrast in French during vocal tract growth. Data are taken from a database of ten French vowels uttered by 12 speakers ranging in age from 4 years to adulthood. Despite the important acoustic variation, it appears that focalization (close F2 and F3) for /y/ is a pattern well realized by all the speakers. Our simulations using an articulatory model demonstrate that the realization of this feature involves a more anterior position of the tongue body for young children, an adaptive articulatory strategy exploited to compensate for their small pharynx. Perceptual tests, however, reveal that this focalization prevents the young child from achieving the perfect perceptual objective related to the rounded vowel /y/. We argue that this is due to the peripheral constraints associated with young children's vocal tract configuration.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Ménard, Lucie (2003): "Acoustic variability and adaptive articulatory strategies during vocal tract growth revealed by the rounding contrast in French", In ICPhS-15, 3169-3172.