Some relationships between speech production and perception

Fredericka Bell-Berti, Lawrence J. Raphael, David B. Pisoni, James R. Sawusch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations


EMG studies of the American English vowel pairs /i-i/ and /e-e/ reveal two different production strategies: Some speakers appear to differentiate the members of each pair primarily on the basis to tongue height; for others the basis of differentiation appears to be tongue tension. There was no obvious reflection of these differences in the speech wave-forms or formant patterns of the two groups. To determine if these differences in production might correspond to differences in perception, two vowel identification tests were given to the EMG subjects. Subjects were asked to label the members of a seven-step vowel continuum, /i/ through /i/. In one condition each item had an equal probability of occurrence. The other condition was an anchoring test; the first stimulus, /i/, was heard four times as often as any other stimulus. Compared with the equal-probability test labelling boundary, the boundary in the anchoring test was displaced toward the more frequently occurring stimulus. The magnitude of the shift of the labelling boundary was greater for subjects using a production strategy based on tongue height than for subjects using tongue tension to differentiate these vowels, suggesting that the stimuli represent adjacent categories in the speakers’ phonetic space for the former, but not for the latter, group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-383
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Linguistics and Language

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