Second International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (ICSLP'92)

Banff, Alberta, Canada
October 13-16, 1992

Velum and Epiglottis Behavior During the Production of Arabic Pharyngeals and Laryngeals: A Fiberscopic Study

Ahmed M. Elgendy

Phonetics Department, Institute of Linguistics, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

An experiment was designed to account for the mechanism underlying the production of a set of speech sounds articulated in the back cavity of the vocal tract and to examine the assumption of possible interaction between nasal, pharyngeal and laryngeal articulation. The results obtained from 9 Egyptian speakers of Arabic by using a wide-angle fiberscope revealed that the velopharyngeal port was open during the production of the four pharyngeal consonants i.e. A, ft, Y/%/ and the laryngeals /?, h/ for all subjects in the non-nasal context. The degree of opening varies as a function of the constriction location in the pharynx and the height of the following vowel. Moreover, simultaneous active move- ment of the epiglottis together with a substantial mesial displacement of the lateral phayrngeal walls at the level of the laryngeaopharynx was also observed. The results suggest that the underlying mechanism used to produce pharyngeal segments (contrary to the common knowledge) involves a complex process and not solely retracting the back of the tongue toward the posterior wall as in the case of the pharyngealized (emphatic) consonants and that the possible interaction between nasal, pharyngeal and laryngeal articulation is conditioned by both aerodynamic and mechanical constraints.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Elgendy, Ahmed M. (1992): "Velum and epiglottis behavior during the production of Arabic pharyngeals and laryngeals: a fiberscopic study", In ICSLP-1992, 1295-1298.