Hearing tongue loops: Perceptual sensitivity to acoustic signatures of articulatory dynamics

Hosung Nam, Christine Mooshammer, Khalil Iskarous, D. H. Whalen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Previous work has shown that velar stops are produced with a forward movement during closure, forming a forward (anterior) loop for a VCV sequence, when the preceding vowels are back or mid. Are listeners aware of this aspect of articulatory dynamics? The current study used articulatory synthesis to examine how such kinematic patterns are reflected in the acoustics, and whether those acoustic patterns elicit different goodness ratings. In Experiment I, the size and direction of loops was modulated in articulatory synthesis. The resulting stimuli were presented to listeners for a naturalness judgment. Results show that listeners rate forward loops as more natural than backward loops, in agreement with typical productions. Acoustic analysis of the synthetic stimuli shows that forward loops exhibit shorter and shallower VC transitions than CV transitions. In Experiment II, three acoustic parameters were employed incorporating F3-F2 distance, transition slope, and transition length to systematically modulate the magnitude of VC and CV transitions. Listeners rated the naturalness in accord with those of Experiment I. This study reveals that there is sufficient information in the acoustic signature of "velar loops" to affect perceptual preference. Similarity to typical productions seemed to determine preferences, not acoustic distinctiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3808-3817
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Nov
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This material is based upon work supported by NIH Grant No. DC-002717 to the Haskins Laboratories and NSF Grant No. 1246750 to the University of Southern California. We thank Will Grathwohl and Shabnam Elahi for help with the experiments.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


Dive into the research topics of 'Hearing tongue loops: Perceptual sensitivity to acoustic signatures of articulatory dynamics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this