Introduction: Electropalatography has proven a good tool to characterize production of consonants; however, few studies used EPG to examine the production of vowels, not to mention relating the EPG patterns of vowels to vowel formant patterns. The current study attempts to characterize the various EPG patterns of three monophthongs occurring in the peripheral positions of the vowel space: /i/, /a/ and /u/.
Method: Simultaneous acoustic and EPG recordings were made on 11 speakers, with 5 Scottish English speakers and 6 Southern British English speakers. All speakers repeated the three target monophthongs in a carrier phrase ‘a p_target V_p papa’ ten times in the experiment.
Results: All eleven speakers distinguished the three monophthongs in terms of whole total Percent Contact. There were few lingual contact for /a/. The percent contact increased from /a/ to both /u/ and /i/. The increase in Percent Contact was found to correlate with both F1 and F2, implying that Percent Contact affects both the lingual height and anteriority. A significant correlation was also found between the Percent Contact and the Centre of Gravity. It was found that Centre of Gravity as a measure of anteriority was strongly correlated with F2, but not with F1, for the /i/-/u/ pair.
Conclusions: The results showed that the front vowel /i/ has the maximum lingual contact and involved the first four rows more than /u/. The vowel /a/ has the minimal lingual contact. The Centre of Gravity measure showed that the front of the tongue was raised and the additional tongue raising was correlated with F2.