Sixth International Workshop on Models and Analysis of Vocal Emissions for Biomedical Applications (MAVEBA 2009)

Florence, Italy
December 14-16, 2009

Articulatory Modelling of the Vocal Tract in Feeding from X-Ray Images

A. Serrurier, Anna Barney

Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, University of Southampton, UK

Two of the major functions of the human vocal tract are feeding and speaking. Ontogenetically and phylogenetically feeding tasks precede speaking tasks and it has been hypothesized that speaking movements constitute a subset of feeding movements. This study investigates whether the vowels /a/ /i/ /u/ can be articulated using feeding movements. Midsagittal tongue surfaces have been extracted from a Digital Yideofluoroscopy film of liquid swallowing, and a 5-compouent articulatory model has been derived, explaining 96% of the tongue variance. Acoustic transfer functions have been estimated by means of an expansion model from midsagittal measurements to area function and an acoustic wave propagation model. The articulations optimally approaching the acoustic and articulatory characteristics of /a/ /i/ /u/ have been extracted from both the data and the model. The results show that the model can produce three /a/ /i/ /u/-like articulations whose points in the acoustic plane F1-F2 reach the /a/ /i/ /u/ ellipses of the literature, suggesting that speech articulations could indeed be producible from feeding movements. These results support the hypothesis that speech movements might have evolved from feeding movements.

Index Terms. Speech. Feeding. Articulatory Modelling

Full Paper (reprinted with permission from Firenze University Press)

Bibliographic reference.  Serrurier, A. / Barney, Anna (2009): "Articulatory modelling of the vocal tract in feeding from X-ray images", In MAVEBA-2009, 133-136.