ISCA Archive Interspeech 2014
ISCA Archive Interspeech 2014

Retroflex and bunched English /r/ with physical models of the human vocal tract

Takayuki Arai

It is known that American English /r/ can be produced as a retroflex or bunched /r/, but it can be challenging to teach students how to articulate both. We already developed a physical model for retroflex /r/ and demonstrated that the model produces the /r/ sound. However, almost no studies have reported a physical model for bunched /r/. We developed a new physical model using sliding blocks for the lips and tongue to help teach students how to produce bunched /r/. We recorded several sets of sounds produced by the models, analyzed the output signals, and used them for perceptual experiments. Acoustic analysis and perceptual experiments confirmed that the retroflex and bunched /r/ models produced clear American /r/ sounds, and that the narrow constriction placed between 5–7 cm from the lips seems to be the key in producing these sounds. Furthermore, bunched /r/ with lip rounding produced the most clear /r/ sound. Both models are helpful for practicing pronunciation because learners can readily see there are two ways to produce /r/, they can see and alter the tongue position manually, and they can hear the output sounds.


doi: 10.21437/Interspeech.2014-99

Cite as: Arai, T. (2014) Retroflex and bunched English /r/ with physical models of the human vocal tract. Proc. Interspeech 2014, 706-710, doi: 10.21437/Interspeech.2014-99

@inproceedings{arai14_interspeech,
  author={Takayuki Arai},
  title={{Retroflex and bunched English /r/ with physical models of the human vocal tract}},
  year=2014,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2014},
  pages={706--710},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2014-99},
  issn={2308-457X}
}