Simulation and analysis of nasalized vowels based on magnetic resonance imaging data

Tarun Pruthi, Carol Y. Espy-Wilson, Brad H. Story

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


In this study, vocal tract area functions for one American English speaker, recorded using magnetic resonance imaging, were used to simulate and analyze the acoustics of vowel nasalization. Computer vocal tract models and susceptance plots were used to study the three most important sources of acoustic variability involved in the production of nasalized vowels: velar coupling area, asymmetry of nasal passages, and the sinus cavities. Analysis of the susceptance plots of the pharyngeal and oral cavities, - (Bp + B o), and the nasal cavity, Bn, helped in understanding the movement of poles and zeros with varying coupling areas. Simulations using two nasal passages clearly showed the introduction of extra pole-zero pairs due to the asymmetry between the passages. Simulations with the inclusion of maxillary and sphenoidal sinuses showed that each sinus can potentially introduce one pole-zero pair in the spectrum. Further, the right maxillary sinus introduced a pole-zero pair at the lowest frequency. The effective frequencies of these poles and zeros due to the sinuses in the sum of the oral and nasal cavity outputs changes with a change in the configuration of the oral cavity, which may happen due to a change in the coupling area, or in the vowel being articulated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3858-3873
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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