Quantifying tongue-tip to upper incisor distance in an ultrasound tongue imaging study of Swedish /i/

Eleanor Lawson, Fabienne Westerberg, Jane Stuart-Smith

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The Swedish /iː/ variant 'Viby-i' has been described as 'thick', 'damped' and 'buzzing', implying the presence of frication. The articulatory basis for its unusual buzzing quality is unknown. We investigate the possibility that frication results from proximity of the tongue tip to the upper incisors during Viby-i production. Ultrasound tongue imaging recordings of word-list speech from 34 Central Swedish speakers was used to study articulatory-acoustic variation across six Swedish long vowels, including Viby-i. Measures of vertical distance between highest point of the tongue and tongue tip indicate that the /iː/ and /yː/ tongue shapes are more apical than the other vowels. /iː/ and /yː/ also have shorter distances between the tongue tip and upper incisors, and acoustic analysis showed greater levels of aperiodicity for /iː/ and /yː/ than for other vowels. However, a correlational analysis did not identify a significant negative relationship between tongue-tip-to-incisor distance and levels of aperiodic noise.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2023
EventInternational Congress of Phonetic Sciences - Prague Congress Center, Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 7 Aug 202311 Aug 2023


ConferenceInternational Congress of Phonetic Sciences
Abbreviated titleICPhS
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic
Internet address


  • ultrasound tongue imaging
  • articulatory phonetics
  • Swedish vowels


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