Comparison of the French and German articulatory spaces


Comparing languages in terms of articulations remains an arduous task due to the inherent different phonetic repertoires and the large inter-speaker variability. This study proposes a model-based approach to compare the articulatory spaces of French (FR) and German (DE) and to explore the discrepancy between the range of articulations of these languages. The approach consists in building articulatory models for the two languages and to reconstruct representative articulations of these languages by the two models. The accuracy of the reconstructions of the FR articulations by the FR model represents the baseline and the gap with the accuracy of the reconstructions of the same FR articulations by the DE model represents the deficit of the DE model to reconstruct the FR articulations, and vice versa. Static midsagittal Magnetic Resonance Images of 11 FR and 5 DE speaker sustaining articulations representative of their respective phonetic repertoire have been considered and the articulator contours manually segmented and aligned. After normalising the data over the speakers, individual articulator-based linear articulatory models have been derived and pairwise cross-reconstructions of each speaker data by each model performed. Comparative analyses of the performance of the cross-reconstructions tend to show a similar articulatory space for the two languages, suggesting that the articulatory degrees of freedom of FR speakers are enough to produce DE articulations and vice versa. However, the large inter-speaker variability highlighted during analysis suggests that the discrepancy between the speakers’ individual strategies might be larger than the discrepancy between the languages’ articulatory spaces.

Year: 2020
In session: Articulation
Pages: 141 to 148