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Phonetics & Phonology

Acoustic Phonetics
Acoustic Phonetics
Physiology of hearing
Sound wave
Bernoulli effect
Functional model of speech
Source filter theory
Physiology of Hearing
Sound (musical instrument, car horn, siren, human
voice etc.) is generated in wave form
These waves propagate through medium e.g. air, water,
metal etc.
They are collected by external/outer ear (pinna) which
directs these sound waves to ear canal
Ear canal directs the sound waves to tympanic
membrane or eardrum which is part of middle ear
Ear drum vibrates as the sound waves strike it
Hair cells in Cochlea, a snail shaped fluid filled structure
in inner ear, convert mechanical vibrations into electric
Auditory nerve carries the electric impulse to brain
Auditory cortex, in brain, interprets the electrical signal;
its location, loudness, pitch etc.
Physiology of Hearing
Hearing Range
Humans normally
hear sound
frequencies between
20 Hz and
20,000 Hz (20 kHz)
Infra and ultra
Humans are most
sensitive to
frequencies between
2000 and 5000 Hz

Sound Waves
Mechanical waves
sound wave is a disturbance that is
transported through a medium via the
mechanism of particle-to-particle interaction
Transverse waves
the displacement of the medium is
perpendicular to the direction of propagation
of the wave
Longitudinal waves
Particles of the medium move in a direction
parallel to the direction of energy transport
Longitudinal vibrations results in the creation
of compressions and rarefactions within
the air

Sound waves
Sound waves
Also known as Pressure waves
The compressions are regions of high air
The rarefactions are regions of low air pressure.
Sound waves
Periodic waves
Waves that repeat at regular intervals
Period (T): the time required to complete a full cycle
For example, if 20 cycles are completed in one second, the
period is 1/20th of a second (s), or 0.05 s
Frequency (f): the number of cycles per second, f in
measured in Hertz (Hz)
f = 1 /T = 1/0.05 = 20 Hz
Amplitude (A): the maximum displacement from
Wavelength (): repeat distance of wave
Speed (v): How fast the wave is moving (the
disturbance itself, not how fast the individual particles
are moving, which constantly varies)
v = f
Periodic waves
Periodic waves
Periodic waves
Periodic waves (Time and
Frequency domain
Complex Periodic Waves
Sine waves contain
a single frequency
Complex waves
contain multiple
frequency waves
added together
Complex periodic
waves contain only
Sine waves at base
frequency (F0) and
integral multiples of
F0 (Fouriers

Complex Periodic waves(Time
and Frequency domain
Aperiodic waves
Most of the periodic sounds are quasi-
Aperiodic sounds are not periodic or quasi-
They do not show repeating pattern in time-
domain representation
There are many aperiodic sounds in speech.
Examples include the hissy sounds
associated with fricatives such as /f/ and /s/
There are two types of aperiodic sounds:
Continuous aperiodic sounds (also known as

Aperiodic waves
Bernoulli effect
Air pumped from the lungs applies
pressure on closed glottis
High pressure opens vocal cords
High velocity air flow creates low
pressure region pulling vocal cords
together again
Process is repeated, producing
vibrations in the vocal cords
Bernoulli effect
Functional Model of Sound
Production (Larynx)
Functional Model of Sound
Production (vocal tract)
Functional Model of Sound
Power supply
(respiratory system)
Buzz generator
Variable filter /
variable resonator
(vocal tract)

Source-Filter theory
A time-frequency-amplitude graph
representing sound

A: the initial schwa
B: the medial phase of the [] (silence)
C: the release burst of the []
D: the aspiration (delay of the onset of voicing
for [])
E: the [] -- voicing has finally started. Right at
the end of the vowel, you can see F2 and F3
start to approach one another in a formant
transition pattern (often called the "velar pinch")
that usually marks the onset phase of a velar
F: the medial phase of the [k] (again, silence)
G: the release burst of the [k] (which is
pronounced as released for the purposes of this

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