Solution for May 2006

labeled spectrogram
<A href=="../wav/wav0605.wav"> "They liked the warm sunshine."

Eth + Raising Sign
[ð̝], IPA 131 + 429
Well, there's some voicing that starts at about 75 msec. It looks a little like closure voicing, but if it's a closure, it doesn't really do a good job of staying closed. Which is not to say my closures are usually good at staying closed, because they're not. But if you're a fan of these things, you already know that. But there's a long (relatively speaking) noisy phase at/near the 'release', which just doesn't look 'release'y. So that's our evidence of frication. I'm not sure what else to say, except how many non-sibilant fricatives are there, not obviously labial, and subject to this kind of fortition. Hmm.

Lower-Case E + Small Capital I
[eɪ], IPA 302 + 319
Beginning at about 125 msec and going on to almost 250 there's a nice clear first formant right around 500 Hz. And flat. Ooh, ya gotta love flat. The F2 is a little odd. Starting at about 1750 Hz and rising to around 2100 or so, and then sharply falls off to below 1500 Hz when something else starts happening. So let's take each of those bits in turn. The 1750 is consistent with something front, and given the F1 (which tells us this vowel is mid-ish) this is pretty significantly front. (For a higher vowel, with a lower F1, F2s can get much higher than this before they get 'really' front, but with this F1, the F2 range is more limited). So we've got something middish and frontish, and it stays mid but the F2 moves up, indicating forward movement. So on the balance the first part of this is [eɪ] or something like that. I'll assume therefore that the rest of it, with the falling F2 is transitional, since there's clearly a low F2 target coming up later. I mean, you have to get there somehow.

Tilde L (Dark L)
[ɫ], IPA 209
So there's this sonorant consonant between 250 and 325 msec or so. It's fully voiced and resonant. The lowered energy leads to what looks like a zero around 2000 Hz, but there's too much energy below to really be a good nasal. So I think that apparent zero is just the low energy dropping off the end of the visible scale. So anyway, this is probably oral. With consonants we don't worry about the F1, usually, because there's not much variation across types. Close-to-closure is close-to-closure, after all. The F2 is swooping to a low of something like 1000 Hz at or near 325 msec, that is towards the end. That probably means something in terms of prosody but I'm not sure what. The F3 is really interesting though. It raises from the beginning to the end of this consonant. What do raised F3s mean? Right. Lateral. Probably. Consistent with the low F2 (I only have fairly dark /l/s after all), and the overall intensity. Good spotting.

Lower-Case A + Small Capital I
[aɪ], IPA 304 + 319
Okay, so the amplitude becomes appropriately vowel-like again around 325 msec and stays that way to about 500 msec. The F1 starts (except for the first 25-50 msec of transition) around 750-800 Hz. While moving, the corresponding part of F2 starts at about 1200 and moves up to 1500 Hz. It continues to rise to a pea at 2100 Hz or so, while the F1 dives, perhaps in transition, to a low just about 500 Hz at 500 msec. So we've got something that starts moderately low (higher F1) and rises slightly, and quite far back and/or round (low F2) and shoots forward in the vowel space. Now part of the lowness of the F2 starting frequency is coarticulation with the backness of the preceding dark /l/, but there's no getting around the backish bit. So we've got something that moves from low and back to high(er) and front. It's worth noticing the falling F3 ...

Lower-Case K
[k], IPA 109
... because combined with the rising F2 we've got something that looks like velar pinch. If this transition were bilabial, then the F2 would have to come down, at some point. If it were alveolar, there's no reason for the F3 to come down. So that transition must be velar. So from 500 msec to at least that release noise thing around 550 or 575 msec, this must be a velar plosive. Looks pretty voiceless.

Lower-Case T
[t], IPA 103
On the other hand, from that release thing there's more gap up to about 625 msec. There's some clunks which might be release noise, in the high frequencies, but they're not very loud. They are consistent with the real noise from 625-700 msec. This noise is [s]-shaped. It's very loud, and loudest at the highest frequencies. It's a little disturbing that the noise dies off below 1500 Hz, which makes it look like a post-alveolar rather than an alveolar. But the concentration of energy, such as it is, in F4 and above rather than below is probably the best cue for alveolar-ness. So if this is just the release of the stop, then it must be alveolar.

Eth + Raising Sign
[ð̝], IPA 131 + 429
Well, here's something odd. Voicing starts at about 700 msec, and something 'happens' about 25 msec later. Then the voicing settles down, but with some very high frequency, but very low amplitude, noise at the top. Then there's three pulses or so of real noise around 800 msec. Hmm. Well, I'd be stumped. Voiced, probably obstruent. Now what. Well, the transitions into the following vowel are all basically alveolar. In fact there's something odd about the F3/F4 being so high. Higher than the lateral. But whatever. Lateral fricatives aren't really an option in English. Dental ones are. And subject to a lot of fortition at the beginnings of some constituents.

I confess I chose this phrase because I was interested in this sequence of consonants. Now I wish I hadn't. But challenges help us grow, right?

[ə], IPA 322
The vowel, such as it is, is weak in amplitude, and the formants are all in transition. So this is a classic reduced vowel. Call it schwa and move on.

Lower Case W
[w], IPA 170
Well, we have a problem. From about 900 msec to about 1000 msec (or 1050, depending on where you want to draw the line) there's something that's clearly sonorant. The voicing is full and resonant. On the other hand, there's no energy above 1000 Hz, and precious little between 600-1000. So we don't have a lot to go on. So then we need to look at the transitions. The F1 starts to fade out, but it seems to be headed down from about 500 Hz and back up again on the other side. So let's suppose it's heading to someplace like a close vowel. The F2 in the schwa is falling, and when the F2 finally fades out, it's about 800 Hz or so. It seems to click on again even lower on the other side. F3, falls from high to neutral, and is still headed down by the time it kicks on again. So we've got something very close (consistent with a high vowel or an approximant), with a very low (back/round) F2. Lower even than it gets with the dark /l/. So backer/rounder than that. And nothing really going on in F3 specific to anything else. So this is probably a [w].

Lower-Case O + Rhoticity Sign
[o˞], IPA 307 + 419
Well, let's suppose this starts around 1000 msec and goes on to about 1125. (I guess I forgot to stick in a segment mark and recenter the vowel symbol. Oops.) So we've got mid or higher-mid F1 (i.e. near or low of 'neutral'), and a very low F2 (indicated something round and back. That's easy. The F3 is way low for a normal vowel, hence the rhoticity sign.

Turned R
[ɹ], IPA 151
And my favo(u)rite approximant. F1 heaven only knows where, let's say around 500 Hz. F2 rising to about 1300-1400 Hz. F3 falling to a low of 1600 Hz or so. You just don't see F3s that low with anything except North American-style approximant [ɹ]s.

Lower-Case M
[m], IPA 114
So just shy of 1200 msec, the amplitude drops suddenly. Things stay sort of constant to about 1250 msec when 'something' happens. So let's talk about that stretch and ignore the rest for the moment. The sudden amplitude drop is characteristic of nasals, so my guess is that's what we're dealing with. There's a zero around 750 Hz, although there's not much to it. There's a pole around 1000 Hz. I'd be happier if there weren't apparently another pole around 1500 Hz, which makes this more ambiguous. But the lower one is stronger, so I'll pretend that's the one we're supposed to pay attention to (this is cheating. If I thought it was supposed to go the other way, then I'd ignore this one. As Peter Ladefoged used to say, sometimes "you have to know what you're looking at before you can look at it," or something like that. Anyway, in my voice, a pole around 1000 Hz is indicative of a bilabial nasal. (The higher pole around 1400 Hz would be indicative of an alveolar.) The transitions in the previous segment are consistent with a bilabial (notice how the F3 just keeps falling and the F2 seems to drop just a hair in the last few msec before the nasal kicks on). The lowering effect of the /r/ confounds that, but if the following sound were really alveolar, I'd expect both those last transitions to be just a little bit upward. Or at least to level out.

Lower-Case S
[s], IPA 132
This is a better [s], spectrally speaking, even if it is a little lacking in amplitude. compared with the noise in the previous [t] release. But this is a pretty classic [s]. A single, very broad band of noise, extending from bottom to top, with very little resonant-like shaping. The single, broad band is centered off the top of the spectrogram, so above 4500 Hz. If we could image the higher frequencies, the center could be anywhere between 6-8 kHz, maybe up to 12 kHz. But whatever, higher than we can see.

Turned V
[ʌ], IPA 314
Vowel. That's all. Vowel. Fully voiced, right amplitude, resonances all the way up. Formants? Well, I don't know. My best guess is that F1 is around 750, or at least somewhere between 500 and 1000 Hz. F2 is around 1250 Hz, or at least between 1000 and 1500 Hz. F3 is raised a little, but since this is a vowel that doesn't tell us a lot. Okay so we've got something mid-to-low and central-to-back. Or somewhere in that area. Turned V is the traditional symbol used in North America for this vowel, but I'm not sure it's the right one.

Lower-Case N
[n], IPA 116
Another nasal. This one as a nice clear zero from 600-1300 Hz, and then there's a pole, very faint, but it's there. Around 1300 Hz. Close enough.

[ʃ], IPA 134
Now here's another sibilant. High energy, and mostly high frequency. This one being a fricative we'll pay attention to the loss of energy below F2. And again this is ambiguous, but there's a little extra energy in the F3 area, and maybe again in F4. So this fricative has lower-frequency center(s) than the previous [s], and has more resonance-y organization. So the lower center, especially in F3, and the loss of energy below the F2, are classic [ʃ] markers.

Lower-Case A + Small Capital I
[aɪ], IPA 304 + 319
Now this is what a standard [aɪ] looks like. Very high F1 with a short transition at the end. Nice low F2 rising sharply to the front space. Ah.

Lower-Case N
[n], IPA 116
Well, there's an abrupt change in amplitude just before 2000 msec. And basically all the energy got sucked away as a result. So this has to be a nasal. Nice little voicing bar, nice little zero, and then no (visible) pole to tell us anything. So we'll have to look at the transitions. And the really obvious thing is that the F2, after climbing drops sharply into the nasal. It seems to point to that 1700-1800 Hz 'locus' for alveolars, rather than lower down for a bilabial. THe F3 transition is a little ambiguous, in that it also seems to drop a little. But in the end [n] is a better guess.