Phon. Lab., Dept. of Linguist., UCLA, 405 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90024-1543
Inst. de Phonet. CNRS URA1027, Paris, France
In French, the acoustic effects of anticipation of a final high front rounded vowel, [y], can be observed in a preceding [i]. This labial anticipation induces a lowering of the formants being measured (F2,F3,F4) both in the middle and, to a greater extent, at the end of the [i] in [iC[sub n]y] sequences. Although significant, this contextual influence does not jeopardize the acoustic contrast between [i] and [y]. To understand the articulatory basis of these results, acoustic consequences of the gestures involved in the so-called rounding contrast between [i] and [y] are investigated through articulatory modeling. An [i]-like area function is simulated with different degrees and combinations of anticipatory lip protrusion, reduction of the area at the lips, and larynx lowering. [i] allows little variation in lip gestures; beyond a limited range of coarticulation [i] shifts acoustically to the region occupied by [y]. While [i] appears to be quantal when we consider variation in tongue constriction, it shows a sensitive response to lip perturbation. In the [iCy] sequences observed, it seems that constraints on distinctiveness prevent a greater labial anticipation.