On the inter-dependence of tonal and vocalic production goals in Chinese

Jason A. Shaw, Wei-rong Chen, Michael I. Proctor, Donald Derrick, Elita Dakhoul

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution

5 Citations (Scopus)


We studied tone-vowel coproduction using Electromagnetic Articulography (EMA). Fleshpoints on the tongue and jaw were tracked while native Chinese speakers (n = 6) produced three vowels, /a/, /i/, /u/, combined with four Chinese tones. We found differences in tongue position across tones for /a/ and for /i/ but not for /u/. The low and rising tones patterned together in conditioning lower tongue blade (TB) position for /a/ and a higher TB position for /i/. This pattern suggests a degree of inter-dependence between tonal and vocalic targets. The effect of tone on TB height was mediated by jaw movement such that, even as TB sensor position varied across tones, the Euclidean distance between TB and Jaw sensors within each vowel remained stable. Thus, for this set of Chinese vowels, there is a relational invariance between active articulators, tongue and jaw. When viewed in terms of this relation, vowel and tonal targets appear to be completely independent.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 10th International Seminar on Speech Production (ISSP)
EditorsSusanne Fuchs, Martine Grice, Anne Hermes, Leonardo Lancia, Doris Mücke
Place of PublicationCologne
PublisherUniversity of Cologne
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventInternational Seminar on Speech Production (10th : 2014) - Cologne, Germany
Duration: 5 May 20148 May 2014


SeminarInternational Seminar on Speech Production (10th : 2014)
CityCologne, Germany


  • Tones
  • Vowels
  • Speech production models
  • Chinese
  • EMA
  • Coarticulation

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