Phon. Lab., UCLA Dept. of Linguist., 405 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90024
Phonetic studies of speaker sex have primarily focused on phonation and vowel formants---very little is known about the effect of speaker sex on consonants and consonant-like sounds. Similarly, studies of American [(inverted are)] have not explored whether and how speaker sex affects the acoustic character of this sound. As part of a larger study of speaker sex and approximant [(inverted are)], 10 speakers (5 male, 5 female) of American English read three repetitions of 69 target words presented randomly in a frame. In addition, gross tongue shape used for the various allophones of [(inverted are)] was determined for each speaker by inserting a probe into the mouth during articulation. At least three tongue shapes can be discriminated using this method. In this presentation, the formant frequency data for the vowel tokens, including syllabic [(inverted are)], are examined in light of the following issues: the location of syllabic [(inverted are)] in a traditional vowel space (F[sub 1]xF[sub 2]); the quantitative effect of speaker sex on the frequency of the first three formants of syllabic [(inverted are)]; and whether there is any sex bias in the distribution of tongue shapes used to produce this sound, and what effect this has on its acoustic quality.