6. X-ray cineradiography

        A major obstacle in studying speech movements is the difficulty of seeing and determining internal movements of the vocal organs. Using the sense of touch inside the mouth and intuition are not always accurate. In the past, x-ray cineradiography was used to film and study the vocal tract during speech. Here is a QuickTime video of a short English sentence:


     Some things to watch for: when and where the tip of the tongue touches the palate, the forward and backward movement of the tongue, the raising and lowering of the velum, and the lowering and raising of the jaw, or mandible.

     X-ray cineradiography is no longer done with normal subjects because of the danger of radiation exposure; various other methods are used now íV you've already encountered MRI. However, a lot of the old x-ray films have been preserved. Kevin Munhall of Queen's University in Canada and his colleagues in Japan have collected and reformatted many of these films and are making them available to the academic community. See his Website (the above example comes from Munhall's database) at:


       Next: Vocal folds and voicing

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