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EMG Activity Within The Pharynx During Speech Production

Fred D. Minifie, James H. Abbs, Arlene Tarlow, Mitchell Kwaterski

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Electromyography (EMG) of the superior and middle constrictor muscles was recorded during phonated and whispered productions of the vowels /i/ and /a/ and the stop consonants /p/ and /b/ in VCVCV trisyllables. Lower levels of EMG activity were consistently associated with production of the voiced consonant /b/ than with comparable productions of the voiceless consonant /p/. Larger amplitude EMG signals were associated with vowel production than with consonant production. No systematic differences in muscle activity were observed as a function of phonated VS whispered productions. These findings are interpreted in relation to the active role of the pharynx during speech production.