Principles of Experimental Phonetics

By Norman J. Lass | Go to book overview

Glossary
accent — Prosodic prominence involving more than one of the three prosodic features of duration, pitch, and stress.
acoustic-phonetic invariance — The central "problem" of speech perception; the physical manifestations of phonetic contrasts vary widely across different talkers, phonetic environments, and speaking rates.
acoustic-regulation hypothesis — Hypothesis that speech pressures are maintained at certain levels primarily for acoustic purposes rather than for aerodynamic needs.
active mechanical properties — Properties of muscles that are manipulated by variations in muscle contraction, viz., the stiffness of the lips, tongue tip, and vocal folds that is changed as facial, tongue and vocal muscles contract, respectively.
adaptation — The decline in probability of a neuron firing as a function of time. At the beginning of a stimulus the probability of discharge is high. It declines rapidly over the first 15 ms (rapid adaptation). A slower but significant decrease in firing probability occurs over the following 40 ms. A much longer, more gradual decrease in firing occurs over a time span of about 1 second (slow adaptation).
afferent — When used in relation to the nervous system, referring to nerves that carry information to the central nervous system, including the spinal cord and brain stem; most often associated with sensory functions.
affricate — A speech sound that involves the two articulatory phases of a stop (vocal tract obstruction) and a fricative (release of air through a constriction). These two phases relate to the acoustic events of a stop gap and a noise segment.
airway resistance — Opposition to motion produced by the forces of friction, which dissipate energy as heat.
aliasing — A process by which artifacts or errors arise during digitization of a signal; the loss of information resulting from sampling an analog signal that has energy above half of the sampling frequency used in digitizing the analog signal. Spurious energy appears in the analysis. See Nyquist sampling theorem.
allophone — Phone that is treated as a variant or instance of the same phoneme within a particular language.
alternating magnetic field — A magnetic field caused by an alternating current passing through a wire. The poles reverse as the current reverses.
amplitude — The magnitude of displacement for a sound wave. The waveform of a sound is represented on a two-dimensional graph in which amplitude is plotted as a function of time. The amplitude of sound largely determines the perceived loudness of the sound.
amplitude modulation (AM) — The periodic or quasi‐ periodic oscillation of the magnitude of a mathematically defined signal, such as a sinusoid or spectrally more complex sound such as Gaussian noise. The consequence of amplitude modulation is to increase the complexity of the spectrum in a systematic way. Thus, a sinusoid signal of frequency fc, modulated by a second sinusoid of frequency fm, will generate a spectrum consisting of three components, fc-fm, fc, and fc + fm. Amplitude modulation is observed in many speech sounds (voiced segments).
analog signal — A continuous function of time that can take any real value. An analog signal can represent the value of a physical measurement like the sound pressure captured by a microphone.
antiformant — A property of the vocal tract transfer function in which energy is not passed effectively through the system; it is opposite in effect to a formant. Antiformants, or zeros, arise because of

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