The process of speech production, i.e., the compression of air in the lungs, the vibration activity of the larynx, and the movement of the articulators, is of great interest in phonetics, phonology, and psychology. One technique by which speech production is analysed is electropalatography
, in which an artificial palate, moulded to the speaker’s hard palate, is introduced in the mouth. The palate contains a grid of electrodes, which monitor the spatial and temporal pattern of contact between the tongue and the palate during speech production. The output is a time sequence of images, known as palatograms, which show the 2D distribution of electrode activation. This paper describes a series of tools for the visualisation and analysis of palatograms and their associated sound signals. The tools are developed as Matlab®
routines and released as an open-source toolbox. The particular focus is the analysis of the amount and direction of left–right asymmetry in tongue–palate contact during the production of different speech sounds. Asymmetry in the articulation of speech, as measured by electropalatography, may be related to the language under consideration, the speaker’s anatomy, irregularities in the palate manufacture, or speaker handedness (i.e., left or right). In addition, a pipeline for the segmentation and analysis of a three-dimensional computed tomography data set of an artificial palate is described and demonstrated. The segmentation procedure provides quantitative information about asymmetry that is due to a combination of speaker anatomy (the shape of the hard palate) and the positioning of the electrodes during manufacture of the artificial palate. The tools provided here should be useful in future studies of electropalatography.
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