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Sounds: the building blocks of

language
CA461 Speech Processing 1
Lecture 2

Building Blocks I
Think of a word
Write it down and read the word aloud
Without looking at the word, write down
how many consonants and vowels are in
the word
Do the same with the following words:
Do, doo, red, read

Do you notice anything?


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Building Blocks II
Now take all the words you have just
considered, say them aloud but dont look
at their written forms, simply close your
eyes and concentrate on listening to the
words. Say them a number of times,
slowly if you like.
How many distinct sounds make up the
words, do and doo?
Our next aim is to describe these sounds
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Phonetics: The Description of


Speech Sounds

Articulatory
Perceptual
Symbols
Acoustic
Will focus on acoustic description (next
lecture), but it useful to be familiar with
articulatory descriptions, symbols and
phonetic alphabets
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Articulatory Components
1. Vocal tract (filter)
Oral, pharyngeal, nasal cavities

2. Glottis (glottal source)


Space between vocals folds (cords)
Located in larynx (voicebox)
Anterior (front) of larynx is your Adams
apple

Vocal tract filter


Stylised

Mid-sagittal view

Nasal Cavity
Oral Cavity
Pharyngeal
Cavity

Larynx/Glottis

Consonant Classification
Voicing/Phonation type
Place of Articulation
Manner of Production -- Degree of Stricture
Velic Position
Passage of airflow thru oral cavity

Voicing/Phonation type
Voiced
Glottis opens and closes rapidly
Male ~100 Hz
Female: ~200 Hz

Voiceless/Unvoiced/Devoiced
Glottis remains open

Can you find voiced/voiceless pairs?


Hint: Start with a voiced sound, e.g. [z]
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Place of Articulation
Main cavities for airflow
Passive articulators
Active articulators
Primarily the tongue

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Alveopalatal
Alveolar
Ridge

Palatal
Velum
Uvula

Lips

Epiglottis

Teeth

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Manner of Production
(Degree of Stricture)

Stop/Plosive: complete closure


Fricative: close approximation
Approximant: open approximation
Trill
Affricate

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Other
Velic Position
Nasal

Passage of airflow thru oral cavity


Central
Lateral

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3term labels

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

For Example:
[ s ] Voiceless alveolar fricative
[ ] Voiceless alveopalatal fricative
[ m ] Voiced bilabial nasal stop
[ ] Voiced velar nasal stop
[ l ] Voiced lateral alveolar approximant
Notice the use of symbols
Not all correspond to orthography
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Vowel quality
Shape of vocal tract tube
Resonant frequencies -- formants
Standing waves
Tend to vary considerably
Acousticsnext lecture

Easier to use tongue and lip positions

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Vowel Classification
by Tongue Position
Locate
highest point
of normally
convex
surface
Use vertical
and
horizontal
dimensions

Tongue
backness

Tongue
height

tongue

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Vertical: Tongue Height


3 or 4 degrees:

close/high
closemid
openmid
open/low

Puzzle: Order the vowels in the following words


in descending tongue height

Bed
Bayed
Bead
Bad
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Horizontal: Tongue Backness


2 or 3 degrees:
front
back
Central

Puzzle: For each of the following pairs of


words which vowel is front/back?
Head, hod
Hood, hid

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Vowel Classification contd...


Lip Position
Rounded
Unrounded

Puzzle: For the following pair of words


which vowel is Rounded/Unrounded?
Reed, rude

Finer distictions (eg. Swedish)

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3term labels: Vowels

For Example:
[ i ] close front unrounded
[ ]openmid front unrounded
[ u ] close back rounded

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Other Dimensions for


Classification

Voiceless
Nasality
Retroflexion: rcolouring / rhotacisation
Tense vs. Lax
Length
Breathy vs.Creaky

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Monophthongs vs. Diphthongs


Monophthong
Pure vowel

Diphthong:
rising/closing
centring
falling/opening

Triphthong?

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Cardinal vowels
Primary cardinal vowels
Secondary cardinal vowels

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Phonetic Alphabets

IPA
Arpabet
Sampa
Worldbet
Exercise:
Choose any word with more than 3 or more
syllables
Phonetically transcribe it in IPA and one other
phonetic alphabet
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Broad vs. Narrow Transcription


Phone Environment

Example

IPA

[ t ]

Syllable initial

ta

[t]

After [ s ] or in
reduced syllables

strf

[]

Various

knn

[]

Between vowels

[t ]

Before consonants
or word finally

frut kek

[ tt ]

Before dental
consonants

ett

[ ]

Word finally?

ps
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Next
Acoustic phonetics
Puzzle for later (after next 2 lectures):
How does vowel height and backness relate
to the first two formants?

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