ASA 127th Meeting M.I.T. 1994 June 6-10

2pSP30. Attributes of lateral consonants.

Kenneth N. Stevens

Res. Lab. of Electron. and Dept. of Elec. Eng. and Comput. Sci., MIT, Cambridge, MA 02139

Sheila E. Blumstein

Brown Univ., Providence, RI 02912

This paper attempts to define acoustic properties of laterals in English that are adjacent to vowels and in syllabic nuclei. When the tongue is in the lateral configuration, there is an increased bandwidth and decreased prominence of the second formant (due to increased losses) and some irregularities in the F3--F4 region (divided acoustic path). When a lateral consonant is produced adjacent to a vowel, there is a rapid change in the acoustic spectrum as these attributes appear or disappear. A series of acoustic analyses has investigated the nature of this discontinuity, particularly the change in amplitude and frequency of the first two spectral prominences. An abrupt change in F2 amplitude of about 10 dB at consonant release (less at closure) is a salient attribute. The attributes that distinguish a syllabic lateral and a nonlow back vowel /o/ have been examined through acoustic analyses and through perceptual experiments in which F2 bandwidth and other properties are manipulated in synthetic utterances. F2 bandwidth again appears to play a significant role in signalling this distinction. The common acoustic attributes associated with the lateral configuration appear to be used in different ways by listeners depending on the context. [Research supported in part by NIDCD.]