Theories of Vowel Inherent Spectral Change

Chapter
Part of the Modern Acoustics and Signal Processing book series (MASP)

Abstract

In many dialects of North-American English, in addition to vowels which are traditionally described as true and phonetic diphthongs, several vowels traditionally described as monophthongs also have substantial formant movement. Vowel inherent spectral change (VISC) has also been found to be an important factor in the perception of vowel-phoneme identity. This chapter reviews literature pertinent to theories of the perceptually relevant aspects of VISC. Three basic hypotheses have been proposed, onset + offset, onset + slope, and onset + direction; each taking the position that initial formant values are relevant but then differing as to the relevant aspect of formant movement. Of these, the weight of evidence indicates that the onset + offset hypothesis is superior in terms of leading to higher correct-classification rates and higher correlation with listeners’ vowel identification responses. Models which fit curves to whole formant trajectories have, as yet, not been found to outperform simple models based on formant measurements taken at two points (onset and offset) in formant trajectories. A popular curve-fitting model (first-order discrete cosine-transform, DCT) is interpretable as a parameterization of the onset + offset hypothesis.

Abbreviations

DCT

Discrete cosine transform

F

Formant

F1

First formant

F2

Second formant

F3

Third formant

t

Time

VISC

Vowel inherent spectral change

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Forensic Voice Comparison Laboratory, School of Electrical Engineering and TelecommunicationsUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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