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LINGUIST List 18.2456

Tue Aug 21 2007

Diss: Phonetics: Elgendy: 'Aspects of Pharyngeal Coarticulation'

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        1.    Ahmed Elgendy, Aspects of Pharyngeal Coarticulation

Message 1: Aspects of Pharyngeal Coarticulation
Date: 18-Aug-2007
From: Ahmed Elgendy <a.elgendywanadoo.nl>
Subject: Aspects of Pharyngeal Coarticulation
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Institution: Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication, University of Amsterdam
Program: Phonetic Sciences
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2001

Author: Ahmed M Elgendy

Dissertation Title: Aspects of Pharyngeal Coarticulation

Linguistic Field(s): Phonetics

Subject Language(s): Arabic, Standard (arb)

Dissertation Director:
L Pols

Dissertation Abstract:

The aim of this study is to investigate the mechanism underlying the
production of various pharyngeal consonants in Arabic and to account for
the nature of coarticulation in the pharynx. The phonetic system of the
Arabic language makes extensive use of the pharynx both as primary and
secondary place of articulation. A series of experiments were designed to
examine the dynamics of various articulators and their acoustic
consequences associated with a set of speech sounds produced primarily in
the back cavity of the vocal tract.

Data obtained using fiberscopic monitoring of the top view of the pharynx
revealed that the production of the pharyngeal consonants is characterized
by a complex mechanism involving the control of coordinated activities of
the pharyngeal wall, the epiglottis and the larynx.

Data on jaw kinematics, obtained by means of electromagnetic coil
registrations of the lips and the mandible excursions, suggested that the
coarticulatory effects resulting from the complexity of the pharyngeal
segment cause the jaw and the tongue to undergo certain mechanical
constraints. Jaw displacement associated with pharyngeal consonant
production was found to be considerably larger, specially for the lower
pharyngeal consonants /¿, Ì/ compared to, for instance, oral consonants in
the same vowel context. The complexity has a delaying effect on the
anticipation of the production of the phonetic segment(s) following the
pharyngeal segment. That is, the synergy involved in controlling the
production of the pharyngeal consonant restricts the jaw and other
articulators to anticipate the articulation of the upcoming phonetic
segments until the associated motor commands for the pharyngeal consonant
are fully executed. Acoustic measurements revealed that this mechanical
effect is mainly realized as a temporal re-organization of the syllable(s)
within the word. These findings suggest that the compensatory effect on the
vowel duration required to preserve a unitary syllable length, a
characteristic prosodic feature in Arabic, is achieved by the jaw.
Accordingly, we suggest that the jaw as controller of temporal aspect of
syllable structure should be incorporated in any articulatory model.

Based on the data gathered from these experiments, components for building
up a model of pharyngeal consonant production are stated and a general
model of pharyngeal articulation is proposed. This model was tested by
examining its ability to predict the phonotactic patterns governing Arabic
word structure. Our general model could provide an explanation for most
restrictions found in the distribution patterns of pharyngeal consonants.
Moreover, the model could also account for the delay observed during the
process of acquisition of pharyngeal articulation in terms of the inherent
degree of jaw displacement for various pharyngeal consonants. The present
model's implications lend support to the views which consider
coarticulation as a pre-planed articulatory process and 'timing' to be
issued internally, i.e., at higher level of the cognitive planing in the brain.

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