This study addresses the hypothesis that the more accurately a speaker discriminates a vowel contrast, the more distinctly the speaker produces that contrast. Measures of speech production and perception were collected from 19 young adult speakers of American English. In the production experiment, speakers repeated the words cod, cud, who'd, and hood in a carrier phrase at normal, clear, and fast rates. Articulatory movements and the associated acoustic signal were recorded, yielding measures of contrast distance between /ɑ/ and /ʌ/ and between /u/ and /ʊ/. In the discrimination experiment, sets of seven natural-sounding stimuli ranging from cod to cud and who'd to hood were synthesized, based on productions by one male and one female speaker. The continua were then presented to each of the 19 speakers in labeling and discrimination tasks. Consistent with the hypothesis, speakers with discrimination scores above the median produced greater acoustic contrasts than speakers with discrimination scores at or below the median. Such a relation between speech production and perception is compatible with a model of speech production in which articulatory movements for vowels are planned primarily in auditory space.


The following article appeared in J. Acoust. Soc. Am. Volume 116, Issue 4, pp. 2338-2344 (October 2004) and may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.1787524


Speech production, Vowel contrasts

Subject Categories

Intelligibility of speech, Speech, Hearing, Speech perception


Speech and Hearing Science


Acoustical Society of America

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©2004 Acoustical Society of America

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