ESSV Konferenz Elektronische Sprachsignalverarbeitung

Title: Sex-specific differences in vowel undershoot. Consequences for the perception of clarity and tempo

Authors: Adrian P. Simpson


Since the seminal work of Lindblom [7] a wealth of studies have investigated undershootand the factors governing its occurrence and variability. However, althoughsex-specific differences in reduction patterns have been found in adults [2,1, 3, 10], as well as in children [8], possible sex-specific differences in formanttransitions and in particular undershoot have received little attention [4]. In a largeacoustic study of German vowels using data from the Kiel Corpus of Read andSpontaneous Speech [5, 6, 9] a number of unexpected sex-specific differences incorrelations between the first two vowel formants and vowel duration were identified.In particular, several statistically significant correlations between acousticvowel quality and duration present in male vowel categories were absent in theirfemale congeners. The absence of a significant correlation between F1 or F2 andduration suggests that the acoustic target of a vowel has been attained within therange of durational variability. Two main explanations are possible for this. First,female speakers exhibit faster post- and pre-consonantal formant transitions allowingthem to attain vocalic target positions earlier than male speakers. The secondpossibility is that there is no difference in the dynamics of formal transitions, butfemale vowels are in general longer, hence increasing the chance that the voweltarget will be attained by the temporal midpoint of the vowel. This paper exploresboth possibilities and considers the implications this might have on our perceptionof clarity, but also on our perception of sex-specific differences in tempo.

Year: 2011
In session: Phonetik und Sprachtechnologie II
Pages: 108 to 109