Tongue movements during speech production have been investigated by means of a simple yet realistic biomechanical model, based on a finite elements modeling of soft tissues, in the framework of the equilibrium point hypothesis (λ-model) of motor control. In particular, the model has been applied to the estimation of the "central" control commands issued to the muscles, for a data set of mid-sagittal digitized tracings of vocal tract shape, recorded by means of low-intensity X-ray cineradiographies during speech. In spite of the highly non-linear mapping between the shape of the oral cavity and its acoustic consequences, the organization of control commands preserves the peculiar spatial organization of vowel phonemes in acoustic space. A factor analysis of control commands, which have been decomposed into independent or "orthogonal" muscle groups, has shown that, in spite of the great mobility of the tongue and the highly complex arrangement of tongue muscles, its movements can be explained in terms of the activation of a small number of independent muscle groups, each corresponding to an elementary or "primitive" movement. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that the tongue is controlled by a small number of independent "articulators", for which a precise biomechanical substrate is provided. The influence of the effect of jaw and hyoid movements on tongue equilibrium has also been evaluated, suggesting that the bony structures cannot be considered as a moving frame of reference, but, indeed, there may be a substantial interaction between them and the tongue, that may only be accounted for by a "global" model. The reported results also define a simple control model for the tongue and, in analogy with similar modelling studies, they suggest that, because of the peculiar geometrical arrangement of tongue muscles, the central nervous system (CNS) may not need a detailed representation of tongue mechanics but rather may make use of a relatively small number of muscle synergies, that are invariant over the whole space of tongue configurations.
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|Titolo:||A control model of human tongue movements in speech|
|Data di pubblicazione:||1997|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01.01 - Articolo su rivista|