Pronunciation GBː ˈfɔːmənt, GA: ˈfɔrmənt

One of a number of peaks in the amplitude frequency spectrum of a sound. The first three formant frequencies, F1, F2 and F3 are important cues to the identity of vowels and sonorant consonants. F1 correlates inversely with the height of a vowel and F2 correlates positively with the frontness of a vowel.

F3 is important for the distinction between l and ɹ. In the former F3 is relatively high, but is much lower in the latter.

Please note that the absolute values of formants are dependent on the size of the speaker’s vocal tract. Smaller vocal tracts give rise to higher frequency values than those produced by larger tracts. What is important for the recognition of a sound is the relative frequency values of the formant peaks.

Amplitude-frequency spectrum showing the first two formants of a vowel in the region of i
(Adult male speaker)

The relationship of F1 and F2 frequencies with the vowel quadrilateral.