Solution for January 2004

"Roads can be icy in winter."

Turned R
[ɹ], IPA 161
This is what I call a type DA /r/. Well, first things first. THe F1 is quite low, The F2 is pretty low, but that F3 is just freakin' *low*. So it's an /r/. My type D is one that has no steady state, i.e. the F3 is absolutely always moving and seems to start at its minimum (insteady of having an extremum in the middle of something). It's type A in the sense that it has three serious formants, and a clear duration prior to the kicking in of a the upper formants (which I take to be the 'beginning' of the vowel, or the 'release' of some constriction or other associated with the /r/.

Lower-case O
[o], IPA 307
Okay, so once the F2 decides where it's supposed to be going we've got a moderately flat, overall. The F3 is just too busy trying to get back up to where it thinks it was supposed to be all along to tell us anything useful. The F1 is sort of lower than for a basic mid vowel, but it's definitely higher than it was where it started in the /r/. So mid-to-high vowel. Mostly back and/or round.

Lower-case D
[d], IPA 104
Voiced plosive. Clear voicing bar lasting quite a while, and no resonance. Transitions (from the [o]) pointing up. Probably coronal.

Lower-case S
[s], IPA 132
Well, this is a little short fricative. The very high frequency noise is suggestive of an /s/, even though its duration and overall intensity aren't all that compelling. Still, there's a plosive following, so maybe that's hiding. Also, it's an incredibly weak position. But whatever. The duration and weakness may be indications of the 'underlying' /z/ (by which I mean the phonologically predicted [z] allophone of the plural marker), and this may be better transcribed as a de-voiced [z]. But I didn't.

Lower-case K + Right Superscript H
[kʰ], IPA 109 + 404
Tiny short gap, but there it is, significant enough to get some pressure build-up and a good strong release. The release is centered in the F2-F3 range, consistent with a velar release. Longish VOT, so this is aspirated.

[ə], IPA 322
Tiny short vowel, transcribed as schwa and otherwise not worried about. I'm glad I noticed, this. I probably should have marked it as a barred-i, but it was all I could do to notice it was there.

Lower-case N
[n], IPA 116
From about 375 to about 550 msec or so, there's some serious voicing going on. Most of it has formants and is therefore resonant. So this is some kind of sonorant. The formants actually look pretty good, but they are separated by areas of no energy, indicating the presence of zeroes, as in a nasal. So probably that's what this is. The F2 is at about 1500 Hz, which is about where my F2 usually is for [n].

Lower-case B
[b], IPA 102
This is a shortish gap, but enough to have a clear release to it. The nasal isn't doing much in terms of transitions, but that's the nature of nasals. For place information we'll look at the burst and the following transitions. And it looks to me like those transitions are pointing down (that is, rising, out of the gap), which indicates bilabial. Of course that's just a guess, since if you look at where the F2 and F3 end up, it's not like they could be heading anywhere but up out of the gap. But they look sort of smooth, so I'll say bilabial. If they were coronal, the F2 would start a trifle lower, and if they were velar, I'd think the F3 might start a little lower.

Lower-case I
[i], IPA 301
Well, we've got a low, low F1, and a high, high F2. So this is [i].

Glottal Stop
[ʔ], IPA 113
Well, not so much a stop, in the sense of a gap, and certainly not plosive in the usual sense, but the absence of a voicing bar (sort of) and the irregular pulse pattern in the upper frequencies is indicative of creak or glottality or whatever you want to call it. So we've probably got a vowel-initial word coming up, probably phrase initial too.

Lower-case A + Small Capital I
[aɪ], IPA 304 + 319
F1 starts (by 800 msec) up around 800 Hz, while the F2 is just low of 1500 Hz. Then by the time you get to 900 msec, the F1 has dropped and the F2 is crossing 2000 Hz. So this goes from sort of low and neutral to high and front. Classic /aj/ diphthong.

Lower-case S
[s], IPA 132
Now that is a fricative. Look at that. Probably longer than 100 msec of voiceless fricative, with more noise on either side. The noise is extremely broad-band, and centered in the higher frequencies. This suggests [s], which is what I'll say it is, but frankly with something this long I'd expect the amplitude, especially in the higher frequencies, to be a lot stronger. Then again, maybe it is, off the top of the spectrogram. Or would have been if we hadn't low-passed before sampling. Nyquist, you know.

Lower-case I
[i], IPA 301
Another incredibly low F1 accompanied by an incredibly high F2. (By incredibly high, I mean well up above 2000 Hz, at least in my voice). But then after reaching a max around 1150 msec, it starts to drop. F1 seems to moderate about that moment as well, so I'm calling that a separate segment. The pattern of the movement is just not characteristic of a transition, so this must be a separate thing. He says.

Barred I
[ɨ], IPA 317
So what is it? Heck if I known. The F1 is still sort of low, but the bandwidth has changed. The F2 is moving without any indication of trying to get anywhere in particular either in terms of having an 'inflection point' or even a place where it starts to slow down as it approaches its target. ALmost as if it doesn't have a target. Which is one of the descriptions of vowel-reduction (or rather the acoustic manifestation of vowel reduction) in English. This one I have marked as a barred-i, because it seems to me the F2 stays above 1500 Hz, and the F1 is always below 500, so the F2 is always closer to F3 than F1, and following Keating et al. (1994), I transcribe it as barred-i.

Lower-case N
[n], IPA 116
This one is less obviously zero-ey than the preceding one, but you can still see the total reduction in amplitude characteristics of nasals. I'd probably mistake this one for an [m], since what we can see of the F2 is low (just above 1000 Hz). But the F3 transition into the following vowle doesn't look bilabial at all. I think what this is actually a nasalized flap-kind of thing, and the tail end (as the tongue is retreating) the oral resonance can be shaped by the lip rounding (in preparation for the following sound). But I'm not sure what's actually going on here. Definitely a nasal, and, well, you'll get further if you guess [n] than [m], if you are trying to make a sentence out of all this.

Lower-case W
[w], IPA 170
Well, let's start with the F3. Looks like it's rising. Don't ask me why. The following vowel seems to have a neutral F3 and an F4, where the F4 is continuous with this F3. So I choose to ignore the evidence of the F3 and look at the rest of it. The F2 is about as low as it can possibly get, well down below 1000 Hz. So this must be as back and as round as anything I can produce. The transition out from this minimum is pretty straight, which is more characteristics of an /w/ retreat-from-rounding transition than anything else, The raised F3 might indicate [l] (in this case, a dark [l], of course), but since I can't tell if that's a raised F3 or a really low F4 (conceivably consistent with rounding) I'll again ignore the F3 and just assume this is a [w].

Barred I
[ɨ], IPA 317
Short vowel. This one is even more schwa-like than the one I marked as a schwa. What was I thinking?

Lower-case N
[n], IPA 116
It might be easy to miss, but there's resonances at F2 and F3 above the voicing bar/F1 thing. If those were absent, I might be include to regard the F1 thingy as perseverative voicing into an oral plosive. But the upper resonances are there, so there must be a nasal in here. Again, the F2 is up around 1500 Hz, indicative of [n].

Lower-case T + Right Superscript H
[tʰ], IPA 103 + 404
But there's a really sharp burst following the nasal thing, so there must be an oral plosive in here as well. The [s] shaped release indicates a [t], and the VOT is just long enough to strike the ear as aspirated.

Turned R + Syllabicity Mark
[ɹ̩], IPA 151 + 431
Well, call it [əɹ] if you want to, since the F3 moves to its minimum rather than being dead flat. But since this is unstressed, maybe that's just characeristic of unstressed syllabic /r/. Or maybe I'm just making this all up. Low F3 indicates the /r/ at least at the end, the the only available vowel is really schwa (F1 about 500 Hz, F2 about 1500 Hz, what else could it be?). So this is either a syllabic /r/ or a schwa-r diphthong of somekind. Not what I call a robust contrast in American English.