A radiographic analysis of constriction locations for vowels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Vocal tract area functions estimated from 38 sets of X-rayed vowel articulations collected from the literature and from new X-ray motion films of English and Arabic speech reveal four constriction locations: along the hard palate, along the soft palate, in the upper pharynx and in the lower larynx. Each location is appropriate for a definable class of vowel qualities, confirming the quantal nature of at least this aspect of vowel articulation. The acoustical, physiological and phonological implications are discussed. In a given phonotactic environment the precision of the constricting tongue manoeuvre was good. The only truly language specific difference was a preference for either the midpalatal or prepalatal location for palatal constrictions. The tongue muscles are found to be admirably situated for creating constrictions at the four locations.


  • Sidney A J Wood
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-43
JournalJournal of Phonetics
Publication statusPublished - 1979
Publication categoryResearch

Related research output

Wood, S. A. J., 1991, Papers in speech communication. Speech production (Reprinted from Journal of Phonetics 7, 1979, p.25-43). Kent, R. D., Atal, B. S. & Miller, J. L. (eds.). Acoustical Society of America, Vol. 7.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

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