Solution for August 2004

"This show's been selling out."

Eth + Raising Sign
[ð̝], IPA 131 + 429
I'm going to have to study my fricatives, because they don't seem to be coming out the way I expect anymore. But this is understandble, being initial in utterance, you don't necessarily expected it to look like a weak little fricative. But I'm getting ahead of myself. There's some serious voicing going on for close to 100 msecs, but it isn't fully sonoroant--no resonances above the voicing bar, and the amplitude is off compared to what is clearly a vowel coming up. So probably not a sonorant. If it were it could only be a nasal, but with that much voicing there ought to be something above it in the way of a pole. So this probably isn't a true sonorant. So it could be a voiced plosive, but we all know (don't we) that English doesn't typically have voiced plosives in initial position. Which leaves voiced fricatives. The transienty releasey thing at about 175msec and the next few pulses look noisy and disorganized, not like nice clean resonance, which is compatible with the fricative theory. So of the available voiced fricatives, the raised (plosivized?) Eth is the most likely just given that this is English.

Small Capital I
[ɪ], IPA 319
So looking at the resonances, there's an F1 somewhere below 500 Hz. Not outrageously low, but definitely lower than mid, which makes this a higher-than-mid vowel. But not outrageously high. F2 is nice and high, up around 1750 or 1800 Hz, indicating something quite front, but not outrageously front.

Lower-Case S
[s], IPA 132
Well, this at least we know is a fricative. It's fairly broad band and concentrated in the very high frequencies. It's a little suspicious in that you can see the F2 travelling though it, and there isn't much in the way of energy below the F2 resonance. Usually that kind of drop off in the amplitude profile is characteristic of an Esh, but the center of the energy here is just too high for that. So it must be an [s].

[ʃ], IPA 134
On the other hand, this is more plausibly an Esh. The center of the energy is still a little high, but at least it's in the visible frequencies. (By the way, in case anyone is wondering I regard the 0-4500 Hz range the 'visible frequencies' just because it's what I'm use to looking at. Most linguistic information is below 3000 Hz for men and about 4000 for women, except for the odd high center and noise information like here.) I'd like somebody to check these "assimilations", maybe in Lisa Zsiga's work, about whether this is how these sequences look--the alveolar loses its low frequencies and the postalveolar's center is pulled up. But that's how it looks to me.

Lower-Case O
[nʊ], IPA 307 + 321
Well, there's a mid-looking F1 for you. And pretty freaking flat too. F2 starts, well, sort of neutral--I think this is the frontness of the preceding fricative at war with the backness/rounding of the vowel, and gets slightly backer and rounder. I've really only got one vowel that does this, and it's /o/. So there you go.

Lower-Case Z
[z̥], IPA 133 + 402
Now this is what an [s] looks like. Well, actually, [s]s are longer and louder. This is a devoiced [z]. Note the sibilant pattern, but short.

Lower-Case P
[p], IPA 101
Well, there's a nice little gap. You can see a closing transient at abotu 725 msec, which is interesting. Note that it's only really obvious as a blip at the bottom. That's going to be important. Just before 800 msec, there's a release--it's very weak, and noiseless, so it's probably not coronal. It's way to clean to be a velar release. So that leaves (bi)labial, which gets further support from the low frequency clunk at the closure. There's not a lot that clunks down there at the low frequencies except labial stuff.

Barred I
[ɨ], IPA 317
Vowels that are this short and relatively low amplitude are almost always a) lax, b) reduced and/or c) just plain not worth bothering with. Take it as some version of schwa and move on.

Lower-Case N
[n], IPA 116
Well, following that moment of obvious vowel, whatever it was, ther's some more voicing, but much weaker resonances, and there's something 'discontinuous' about the resonances. This should be ringing some kind of bell. Sonorant, weaker-than-vowel resonances, nice little zero down there around 800-900 Hz..... So thi smust be a nasal. If you know my voice, this can't be [m], because what resonance there is is up about 1400-1500 Hz, and my [m] resonance is closer to 1000-1100 Hz. Eng is unlikely, given that F2 transition in the barred I or whatever it is. Not only is there no evidence of velar pinch, there's just no way for it to be compatible with velar pinch.

Lower-Case S
[s], IPA 132
See how much longer this fricative is? I wish it were higher in amplitude, but oh well. But it has the typical profile of an [s].

[ɛ], IPA 303
Well, it's tough to see the F1, but I'm thinking it's that thing that mvoes sort of upward from about 550 Hz at about 1100 msec to about, oh, 750 Hz about 50 msec later. Which makes this a lower-than-mid vowel, but in no way 'low'. F2 starts sort of neutral but is being drawn down by the low target in the following segment. So wishing really, really hard, you come to believe this is a lowish, but not amazingly backish vowel. So that would make it Ash or Epsilon. And this isn't really long enough to be Ash.

Tilde L (Dark L)
[ɫ], IPA 209
So there's no zero, at least in the low frequencies, but a distinct loss of amplitude. So this isn't a nasal, but there's something here that's relatively 'close' and damping the amplitude. Sonorant consonants spring to mind. That low F2 suggests something back, which suggests [w] or dark [l]. I'd hope the F2 of [w] would get lower than this, but you can't always count on that. But [w] wouldn't have such a weird (and asymmetrical) effect on the onset transition (compared to the offset transition). In a perfect world the F3 or F4 would be raised to tell you this really was dark [l], but in life there is ambiguity.

Barred I
[ɨ], IPA 317
And here's another short vowel, and again it's mostly transition. Skip it. After you notice the velar pinch.

[ŋ], IPA 119
And front velar pinch at that!. With a nice little zero, fuzzy F1 especially on the left. So probably nasal, likely a coda nasal, and almost definitely velar.

Lower-Case A
[aʊ], IPA 304 + 321
Well, the F1, what we can see of it, is pretty high, indicating a very low vowel. Starts frontish and ends quite back and round. And this is actually quite long. I wish my voicing doesn't die out like it always does on these final falling intonation thingies, or you'd see the F1 and F2 targets twoard the end more clearly. But of the three 'true' diphthongs, only one goes from front to back.

Lower-Case T
[tʰ], IPA 103 + 404
Someone pointed out to me recently that I've been marking these as 'apsirated', when in fact they're just strongly released--'aspiration' by definition is VOT, and you can't have VOT without some V coming on at some point. And since this is utterance final, this is just a release. But the release is [s] shaped, which is typical of alveolar releases (for extra credit, explain why). And voiceless, of course.