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J Voice. 2011 May;25(3):319-25. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2010.01.001. Epub 2010 Mar 25.

Interarticulator timing control during inspiratory phonation.

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Speech Science Laboratory, Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong.



The ability of Cantonese speakers in producing aspirated and unaspirated stops and stops at different places of articulation using expiratory phonation (EP) and inspiratory phonation (IP) was compared. Interarticulator timing during stop production using EP and IP was examined. Voice onset time (VOT) associated with EP and IP stops was compared with stop identification scores by naïve listeners.


Aspirated and unaspirated voiceless stops (/p(h), t(h), k(h), p, t, k/) followed by the vowel /a/ were produced by 15 male and 15 female Cantonese speakers using EP and IP. VOT values were measured and isolated speech samples of stop productions were identified by 10 naïve listeners. Percent correct identification of stops was obtained from the 10 listeners.


Perceptual data showed that production of IP stops were associated with reduced accuracy in stop identification, with predominant errors in aspiration perception. Acoustic analysis showed that IP stops were generally produced with significantly shorter VOT than their EP counterparts. In addition, effect of place of articulation on VOT was also found for both IP and EP stops, notably with velar stops being associated with significantly longer VOT values than bilabial and alveolar stops.


The findings that IP stops were produced with shorter VOT as compared with EP stops imply that the articulatory-phonatory coordination during IP was not the same as that during EP, causing a discrepancy in the timing control between articulators.

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