Relationship between tongue positions and formant frequencies in female speakers

Jimin Lee, Susan Shaiman, Gary Weismer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


This study examined the relationship (1) between acoustic vowel space and the corresponding tongue kinematic vowel space and (2) between formant frequencies (F1 and F2) and tongue x-y coordinates for the same time sampling point. Thirteen healthy female adults participated in this study. Electromagnetic articulography and synchronized acoustic recordings were utilized to obtain vowel acoustic and tongue kinematic data across ten speech tasks. Intra-speaker analyses showed that for 10 of the 13 speakers the acoustic vowel space was moderately to highly correlated with tongue kinematic vowel space; much weaker correlations were obtained for inter-speaker analyses. Correlations of individual formants with tongue positions showed that F1 varied strongly with tongue position variations in the y dimension, whereas F2 was correlated in equal magnitude with variations in the x and y positions. For within-speaker analyses, the size of the acoustic vowel space is likely to provide a reasonable inference of size of the tongue working space for most speakers; unfortunately there is no a priori, obvious way to identify the speakers for whom the covariation is not significant. A second conclusion is that F1 variations reflect tongue height, but F2 is a much more complex reflection of tongue variation in both dimensions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4939894
Pages (from-to)426-440
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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