4th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Philadelphia, PA, USA
October 3-6, 1996

An MRI-based Analysis of the English /r/ and /l/ Articulations

Shinobu Masaki (1), Reiko Akahane-Yamada (1), Mark K. Tiede (1), Yasuhiro Shimada (2), Ichiro Fujimoto (2)

(1) ATR Human Information Processing Research Laboratories, Sorakugun, Kyoto, Japan
(2) Takanohara Chuo Hospital, Narashi, Nara, Japan

Midsagittal tongue shapes for sustained English hi and IM sounds between native speakers of American English (AE) and Japanese were compared using [he Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technique. The hi sound as produced by AE speakers was characterized by a constriction at the anterior pan of the hard palate and the existence of a sublingual cavity, and for /I/ sounds, apical contact to the front teeth and/or alveolar ridge, and the absence of the sublingual cavity. For Japanese speakers, strategies to form the tongue shape contrast between hi and /I/ productions were categorized into four types depending on the type of contact/constriction and presence/absence of the sublingual cavity. The first type showed a pattern of tongue shape similar to AE speakers. The second and third types were characterized by hi and 11/ oriented production, respectively, for both sounds. In the last type, the distinction between hi and IV was formed only by the absence or presence of apical contact, while a sublingual cavity was produced iot both sounds. These types are discussed in the context of a perceptual evaluation and an acoustical analysis.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Masaki, Shinobu / Akahane-Yamada, Reiko / Tiede, Mark K. / Shimada, Yasuhiro / Fujimoto, Ichiro (1996): "An MRI-based analysis of the English /r/ and /l/ articulations", In ICSLP-1996, 1581-1584.