J. Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 118, No. 3, Pt. 2, p. 1862, 2005
Visualizing vowel-production mechanism using simple educational tools.
Abstract: To develop intuitive and effective methods for educating Acoustics to students of different ages and from varied backgrounds, Arai [J. Phonetic Soc. Jpn. 5, 31-38, (2001)] replicated Chiba and Kajiyama’s physical models of the human vocal tract as educational tools and verified that the physical models and sound sources, such as an artificial larynx, yield a simple but powerful demonstration of vowel production in the classroom. We have also started exhibiting our models at the Science Museum “Ru-Ku-Ru” in Shizuoka City, Japan. We further extended our model to a lung model as well as several head-shaped models with visible vocal tract to demonstrate the total vowel-production mechanism from phonation to articulation. The lung model imitates the human respiratory system with a diaphragm. In the head-shaped model, the midsaggital cross section is visible from the outside. To adjust the degree of nasopharyngeal coupling, the velum may be rotated. Another head-shaped model with the manipulable tongue position was also developed. Two test results were compared before and after using these physical models, and the educational effectiveness of the models was confirmed. The homepage of the vocal-tract models is available at http://www.splab.ee.sophia.ac.jp/Vocal_Tract_Model/index-e.htm. [Work supported by KAKENHI (17500603).]