An Index for Quantifying Tongue Curvature


  • Stade Stolar
  • Bryan Gick University of British Columbia, Dept. of Linguistics, Totem Field Studios 2613 West Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V6T 1Z4


This study develops a method of quantifying tongue curvature by modeling the shape of the tongue surface in any anatomical plane using a polynomial approximation. In a validation experiment, the curvature indices of English vowel and consonant sounds were calculated across ten native speakers’ productions based on midsagittal ultrasound images of the tongue. Indices confirm substantially higher curvature values for liquids /r/ and /l/ than for all other sounds in the inventory. This method is both more generalized and less dependent upon fixed locations than previous methods, and provides a simple, powerful metric for evaluating shape complexity with applications in areas such as motor development and aeroacoustics.

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How to Cite

Stolar S, Gick B. An Index for Quantifying Tongue Curvature. Canadian Acoustics [Internet]. 2013 Mar. 1 [cited 2024 Jun. 22];41(1). Available from:



Article - Speech Sciences

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