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Discrete constriction locations describe a comprehensive range of vocal tract shapes in the Maeda model.


The Maeda model was used to generate a large set of vocoid-producing vocal tract configurations. The resulting dataset (a) produced a comprehensive range of formant frequencies and (b) displayed discrete tongue body constriction locations (palatal, velar/uvular, and lower pharyngeal). The discrete parameterization of constriction location across the vowel space suggests this is likely a fundamental characteristic of the human vocal tract, and not limited to any specific set of vowel contrasts. These findings suggest that in addition to established articulatory-acoustic constraints, fundamental biomechanical constraints of the vocal tract may also explain such discreteness.

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