The possible existence of language-specific articulatory settings (underlying or default articulator positions) has long been discussed, but these have proven elusive to direct measurement. This paper presents two experiments using X-ray data of 5 English and 5 French subjects linking articulatory setting to speech rest position, which is measurable without segmental interference. Results of the first experiment show that speech rest position is significantly different across languages at 5 measurement locations in the vocal tract, and is similar to previously described language-specific articulatory settings. The second experiment shows that the accuracy of achievement of speech rest position is similar to that of a specified vowel target (/i/). These results have implications for the phonetics and phonology of neutral vowels, segmental nventories, and L2 acquisition.

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