Spectral Moment Analysis has helped further our understanding of the spectral properties of obstruent speech production; however, the physiologic correlates of these spectral measures are not well understood. The aim of the present study was to examine the possible correlations between the linguapalatal contact patterns used to produce the fricatives /s/ and /ʃ/ and the resulting spectral characteristics. Using spectral moment analysis and electropalatography (EPG), the real-word productions of eight speakers of American English were investigated. The spectral measures for the fricative tokens in the present study were found to be similar to data reported in previous research with adult speakers. Although the majority of the correlations examined in this study were found to be statistically significant, none of the correlations accounted for a large proportion of the variance in the data. Generally the strongest correlations were found between the spectral mean and the symmetry of the contact pattern in the anterior region of the hard palate and the width of the contact pattern in the medial region of the palate. These findings may indicate that although the width and symmetry of linguapalatal contact contributes to the spectral signature /s/ and /ʃ/ fricatives, they are likely only part of a much more complex process that may involve other mechanisms such as lip rounding, tongue groove depth and shape, aerodynamic factors, and the shape of the vocal tract in other regions.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Communication Disorders



Date Submitted


Document Type





spectral moments, electropalatography, fricatives