LIN228H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Vocal Tract, Blue Box, Spectrogram

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26 Mar 2017
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October 12th, 2016
LIN228 LECTU R E 5
VOWELS
Vocal tract totally open; no obstruction
/i/  tongue high up, lips slightly open, /u/  tongue high back, lips rounded
Think of your vocal tract as a tube that can change shape
When producing the vowels, we create two major cavities within the vocal tract:
oFront cavity  anything in front of the highest position of the tongue
oBack cavity  anything behind the highest position of the tongue
 We can describe vowels on the size of their cavities
oImportant consequences on acoustics since a cavity will carry with it its own resonance; if cavity is large we get a
lower resonating frequency vs. small cavity, we get a higher resonating frequency
/u/  front and back cavities large; front cavity is large since we round our lips, which provides some extra space
Consequences of cavity size: LARGER CAVITY = LOWER FREQUENCY, SMALLER CAVITY = HIGHER FREQUENCY
oBack cavity negatively correlates with F1  large cavity (i.e. “higher”) = low (i.e. “smaller”) F1
oFront cavity negatively correlates with F2  same idea, but with F2 and not F1
How does this look on a spectrogram?
oVertical striations = 1 cycle of vocal fold vibrations
oRed dots = tracking of the formants
oCan see that the negative correlations of back and front cavity size with the frequencies of formants is easily seen
in spectrograms
ENGLISH VOWEL FORMANTS
Typical ranges for F1 and F2: F1  250 – 800 Hz, F2  800 – 2600 Hz (higher for females than for males)
Can see that we develop a characteristic wave from progressing from high/low front to high/low back vowels
oEach vowel has characteristic formants due to the size of the front and back cavities created using the vocal tract
Example /i/  F1 is very low because the back cavity is large, F2 is very high because the front cavity is small
FRONT VOWELS: going from high to low, F1 gets higher VS. F2 gets lower
BACK VOWELS: going from low to high, F1 gets lower VS. F2 gets higher
oNote that with back vowels, F1 and F2 can be quite close together; do not mistake them for one formant!
Another thing to notice: the relative duration of the vowels
oAs the rule goes, the tense vowels have longer length than their corresponding lax vowels
VOWELS: MONOPHTHONGS
When doing this exercise, first determine where you should be finding F1 and F2 (based on typical range values)
/i/  should have the highest F2 and lowest F1
/I/  should be similar to /i/ but should have a slightly higher F1 and slightly lower F2
//  F1 getting higher, F2 getting lower
/ /  F1 and F2 are very close together ɑ
VOWELS: DIPHTHONGS
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