This paper presents findings on the aerodynamic features of Mandarin initial consonants on different articulatory places and manners. Signals of speech, airflow, and air-pressure from 20 speakers (10 males and 10 females) were collected by using Phonatory Aerodynamic System (PAS6600). Parameters, including duration, sound pressure, air-pressure peak, airflow peak, airflow volume were measured. The results showed that: 1) The aerodynamic features of initials vary among different speakers, which might be attributed to their gender or articulation habits. Male speakers have higher air-pressure, airflow peak and expiratory volume (EV) than females, which might be attributed to a greater lung capacity of the male. 2) Aspirated consonants have higher sound pressure level (SPL), expiratory airflow duration (EAD), peak air-pressure (PAP), peak expiratory airflow (PEA) and EV than their unaspirated counterparts. Therefore all these parameters can be regarded as criteria for distinguishing aspirated and unaspirated consonants. 3) The vibration of vocal cords in voiced consonants has an immediate impact on SPL, which leads to higher SPL values than those in voiceless consonants, but air-pressure is just the opposite. The PEA and EV of voiced consonants are close to those of voiceless stops, but these two parameters are far smaller than those for other consonants. 4) The aerodynamics of consonants with different articulatory manners are significantly different, thus the EAD, PAP, PEA and EV parameters can all be regarded as the distinctive features of consonants.


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pp. 411-433
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