Format of Original
Journal of Phonetics
Original Item ID
PubMed Central, PMCID: PMC3925005, doi: 10.1016/j.wocn.2013.09.002
A locus equation describes a 1st order regression fit to a scatter of vowel steady-state frequency values predicting vowel onset frequency values. Locus equation coefficients are often interpreted as indices of coarticulation. Speaking rate variations with a constant consonant–vowel form are thought to induce changes in the degree of coarticulation. In the current work, the hypothesis that locus slope is a transparent index of coarticulation is examined through the analysis of acoustic samples of large-scale, nearly continuous variations in speaking rate. Following the methodological conventions for locus equation derivation, data pooled across ten vowels yield locus equation slopes that are mostly consistent with the hypothesis that locus equations vary systematically with coarticulation. Comparable analyses between different four-vowel pools reveal variations in the locus slope range and changes in locus slope sensitivity to rate change. Analyses across rate but within vowels are substantially less consistent with the locus hypothesis. Taken together, these findings suggest that the practice of vowel pooling exerts a non-negligible influence on locus outcomes. Results are discussed within the context of articulatory accounts of locus equations and the effects of speaking rate change.