A dynamic biomechanical model for neural control of speech production

J Acoust Soc Am. 1998 Mar;103(3):1615-27. doi: 10.1121/1.421296.


A model of the midsagittal plane motion of the tongue, jaw, hyoid bone, and larynx is presented, based on the lambda version of equilibrium point hypothesis. The model includes muscle properties and realistic geometrical arrangement of muscles, modeled neural inputs and reflexes, and dynamics of soft tissue and bony structures. The focus is on the organization of control signals underlying vocal tract motions and on the dynamic behavior of articulators. A number of muscle synergies or "basic motions" of the system are identified. In particular, it is shown that systematic sources of variation in an x-ray data base of midsagittal vocal tract motions can be accounted for, at the muscle level, with six independent commands, each corresponding to a direction of articulator motion. There are two commands for the jaw (corresponding to sagittal plane jaw rotation and jaw protrusion), one command controlling larynx height, and three commands for the tongue (corresponding to forward and backward motion of the tongue body, arching and flattening of the tongue dorsum, and motion of the tongue tip). It is suggested that all movements of the system can be approximated as linear combinations of such basic motions. In other words, individual movements and sequences of movements can be accounted for by a simple additive control model. The dynamics of individual commands are also assessed. It is shown that the dynamic effects are not neglectable in speechlike movements because of the different dynamic behaviors of soft and bony structures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Hyoid Bone / physiology
  • Larynx / physiology
  • Mandible / physiology
  • Models, Biological*
  • Movement / physiology
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Speech / physiology*
  • Speech Production Measurement*
  • Tongue / physiology