Acoustic Features of Speech of Typically Developing Children Aged 5–16 Years

  • Alexey Grigorev
  • Olga Frolova
  • Elena LyaksoEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 930)


The study is aimed at investigating the formation of acoustic features of speech in typically developing (TD) Russian-speaking children. The purpose of the study is to describe the dynamics of the temporal and spectral characteristics of the words of 5–16 years old children depending on their gender and age. The decrease of stressed and unstressed vowels duration from child’s words to the age of 13 years is revealed. Pitch values of vowels from words significantly decrease to the age of 14 years in girls and to the age of 16 years in boys. Pitch values of vowels from girls’ words are higher vs. corresponding features from boys’ words. Differences in the pitch values and vowel articulation index in boys and girls in different ages are shown. The obtained data on the acoustic features of the speech of TD children can be used as a normative basis in artificial intelligence systems for teaching children, for creating alternative communication systems for children with atypical development, for automatic recognition of child speech.


Child speech Acoustic features of speech Pitch Vowel articulation index 



This study is financially supported by Russian Science Foundation (Project № 18-18-00063).


  1. 1.
    Kuhl, P.K., Meltzoff, A.N.: Infant vocalizations in response to speech: vocal imitation and developmental change. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 100(4), 2425–2438 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Nathani, S., Ertmer, D.J., Stark, R.E.: Assessing vocal development in infants and toddlers. Clin. Linguist. Phon. 20(5), 351–369 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Lyakso, E., Gromova, A., Frolova, O., Romanova, O.: Acoustic aspect of the formation of speech in children in the third year of life. Neurosci. Behav. Physiol. 35(6), 573–583 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Liu, S., Jin, Y., Yu, H., Yang, L.: Study on the acoustic characteristics of speech and physiological development of vocal organs for two-year-old children. In: Fifth International Conference on Instrumentation and Measurement, Computer, Communication and Control, pp. 576–579. IEEE, Qinhuangdao (2015)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ballard, K.J., Djaja, D., Arciuli, J., James, D.J.H., van Doorn, J.: Developmental trajectory for production of prosody: lexical stress contrastivity in children 3 to 7 years and adults. J. Speech Lang. Hear. Res. 55, 1716–1735 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Brehm, S.B., Weinrich, B.D., Sprouse, D.S., May, S.K., Hughes, M.R.: An examination of elicitation method on fundamental frequency and repeatability of average airflow measures in children age 4:0–5:11 years. J. Voice 26(6), 721–725 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Lyakso, E.E., Frolova, O.V., Grigorev, A.S.: Infant vocalizations at the first year of life predict speech development at 2–7 years: longitudinal study. Child Psychol. 5(12), 1433–1445 (2014)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hoit, J., Hixon, T., Watson, P., Morgan, W.: Speech breathing in children and adolescents. J. Speech Hear. Res. 33, 51–69 (1990)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Vorperian, H., Kent, R.: Vowel acoustic space development in children: a synthesis of acoustic and anatomic data. J. Speech Lang. Hear. Res. 50(6), 1510–1545 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Lee, S., Iverson, G.K.: The development of monophthongal vowels in Korean: age and sex differences. Clin. Linguist. Phon. 22(7), 523–536 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Harries, M., Hawkins, S., Hacking, J., Hughes, I.: Changes in the male voice at puberty: vocal fold length and its relationship to the fundamental frequency of the voice. J. Laryngol. Otol. 112(5), 451–454 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Lee, S., Potamianos, A., Narayanan, S.: Acoustics of children’s speech: developmental changes of temporal and spectral parameters. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 105, 1455–1468 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Bonneh, Y.S., Levanon, Y., Dean-Pardo, O., Lossos, L., Adini, Y.: Abnormal speech spectrum and increased pitch variability in young autistic children. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 4(237), 1–7 (2011)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kent, R.D., Vorperian, H.K.: Speech impairment in down syndrome: a review. J. Speech Lang. Hear. Res. 56(1), 178–210 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Fortunato-Tavares, T., Andrade, C.R.F., Befi-Lopes, D., Limongi, S.O., Fernandes, F.D.M., Schwartz, R.G.: Syntactic comprehension and working memory in children with specific language impairment, autism or down syndrome. Clin. Linguist. Phon. 29(7), 499–522 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Lyakso, E.: Characteristics of infant’s vocalizations during the first year of life. Int. J. Psychophysiol. 30, 150–151 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Lyakso, E.E.: Phonological developments of Russian children during the first postnatal year. In: Joint Conference of the IX International Congress for the Study of Child Language and the Symposium on Research in Child Language Disorders, p. 171. SRCLD-IASCL, Madison, USA (2002)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lyakso, E., Frolova, O.: Russian vowels system acoustic features development in ontogenesis. In: Interspeech 2007, pp. 2309–2313. Antwerp, Belgium (2007)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Lyakso, E.E., Frolova, O.V., Stolyarova, E.I.: Russian child speech development in mother–child interaction: basis rules and individual features. Int. J. Psychophysiol. 69(3), 306–307 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Lyakso, E.E., Grigor’ev, A.S.: Dynamics of the duration and frequency characteristics of vowels during the first seven years of life in children. Neurosci. Behav. Physiol. 45(5), 558–567 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Kurazova, A.V., Lyakso, E.E.: Speech development of children and vocal-speech interaction in the triads “mother-twins”: longitudinal study. Bull. St. Petersburg State Univ. 3, 93–103 (2012). (in Russian)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Lyakso, E., Frolova, O., Grigorev, A.: A comparison of acoustic features of speech of typically developing children and children with autism spectrum disorders. Lect. Notes Comput. Sci. 9811, 43–50 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Lyakso, E., Frolova, O., Grigorev, A.: Perception and acoustic features of speech of children with autism spectrum disorders. Lect. Notes Comput. Sci. 10458, 602–612 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Lyakso, E.E., Frolova, O.V., Grigor’ev, A.S., Sokolova, V.D., Yarotskaya, K.A.: Recognition by adults of emotional state in typically developing children and children with autism spectrum disorders. Neurosci. Behav. Physiol. 47(9), 1051–1059 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Fernando, S., et al.: Automatic recognition of child speech for robotic applications in noisy environments. Comput. Speech Lang. 1–28 (2016). arXiv:1611.02695v1 [cs.CL]
  26. 26.
    Roy, N., Nissen, S.L., Dromey, C., Sapir, S.: Articulatory changes in muscle tension dysphonia: evidence of vowel space expansion following manual circumlaryngeal therapy. J. Commun. Disord. 42(2), 124–135 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Boliek, C.A., Hixon, T.J., Watson, P.J., Jones, P.B.: Refinement of speech breathing in healthy 4- to 6-year-old children. J. Speech Lang. Hear. Res. 52, 990–1007 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Hacki, T., Heitmuller, S.: Development of the child’s voice: premutation, mutation. Int. J. Pediatr. Otorhinolaryngol. 49(1), 141–144 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Fitch, W.T., Giedd, J.: Morphology and development of the human vocal tract: a study using magnetic resonance imaging. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 106, 1511–1522 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Hollien, H., Green, R., Massey, K.: Longitudinal research on adolescent voice change in males. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 96, 2646–2654 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Perry, T.L., Ohde, R.N., Ashmead, D.H.: The acoustic bases for gender identification from children’s voices. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 109, 2988–2998 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Markova, D., et al.: Age- and sex-related variations in vocal-tract morphology and voice acoustic during adolescence. Horm. Behav. 81, 84–96 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Wan, P., Huang, Z., Zheng, Q.: Acoustic elementary research on voice resonance of Chinese population. Chin. J. Surg. 24(6), 250–252 (2010)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Kaya, H., Salah, A.A., Karpov, A., Frolova, O., Grigorev, A., Lyakso, E.: Emotion, age, and gender classification in children’s speech by humans and machines. Comput. Speech Lang. 46, 268–283 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Saint Petersburg State UniversitySaint PetersburgRussia

Personalised recommendations