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Articulatory phonology

Articulatory phonology is a linguistic theory originally proposed in 1986 by Catherine Browman of Haskins Laboratories and Louis M. Goldstein of Yale University and Haskins. The theory identifies theoretical discrepancies between phonetics and phonology and aims to unify the two by treating them as low and high dimensional descriptions of a single system.

Unification can be achieved by incorporating into a single model the idea that the physical system (identified with phonetics) constrains the underlying abstract system (identified with phonology), making the units of control at the abstract planning level the same as those at the physical level.

The plan of an utterance is formatted as a gestural score, which provides the input to a physically based model of speech production - the task dynamic model of Elliot Saltzman The gestural score graphs locations within the vocal tract where constriction can occur, indicating the planned or target degree of constriction. A computational model of speech production developed at Haskins Laboratories combines articulatory phonology, task dynamics, and the Haskins articulatory synthesis system developed by Philip Rubin and colleagues.


  • Browman, C.P. and Goldstein, L. (1986) Towards an articulatory phonology. In C. Ewen and J. Anderson (eds.) Phonology Yearbook 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 219 252.
  • Browman, C.P. and Goldstein, L. (1993) Dynamics and articulatory phonology. Status Reports on Speech Research, SR-l 13. New Haven: Haskins Laboratories, pp. 51 62.
  • Fowler, C.A., Rubin, P. Remez, R.E. and Turvey, M.T. (1980) Implications for speech production of a general theory of action. In B. Butterworth (ed.) Language Production. New York, NY: Academic Press, pp. 373 420.
  • Goldstein, Louis M., and Carol Fowler. (2003). Articulatory phonology: a phonology for public language use. In Phonetics and Phonology in Language Comprehension and Production: Differences and Similarities, ed. Antje S. Meyer and Niels O. Schiller. Mouton de Gruyter
  • Kr ger, B.J. (1993) A gestural production model and its application to reduction in German. Phonetica 50: 213-233.
  • Kr ger, B.J., Birkholz, P. (2007) A gesture-based concept for speech movement control in articulatory speech synthesis. In: Esposito A, Faundez-Zanuy M, Keller E, Marinaro M (eds.) Verbal and Nonverbal Communication Behaviours, LNAI 4775 (Springer, Berlin) pp. 174-189
  • Saltzman, E. (1986) Task dynamic co-ordination of the speech articulators: a preliminary model. In H. Heuer and C. Fromm (eds.) Generation and Modulation of Action Patterns. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, pp. 129 144.
  • Tatham, M. A. A. (1996). Articulatory phonology and computational adequacy. In R. Lawrence (ed.). Proceedings of the Institute of Acoustics, Vol. 18, Part 9. St. Albans: IoA, 375-382.

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