The Relative Amplitude of Vowel Formants for Vowels in Asymmetrical Consonant Contexts
Creators:Hunyady, Heather A.
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Speech and Hearing Science Honors Theses; 2006
The objective of this research is to characterize the role of the relative intensity of speech segments in the auditory processing of vowels and consonants within larger prosodic domains such as words. This project focuses on vowels and investigates the relative amplitude of vowel formants as a possible cue when listeners make phonemic and sub phonemic distinctions. The specific goal of this project is to examine the acoustic pattern of the relative amplitude of formants in the production of selected co-articulated vowels. A follow up study will examine the auditory effect of formant level variations on listeners' decision about vowel quality and the intelligibility of words. This honors thesis project supplements a much larger acoustic study, which is a partial replication and extension of an early study by House and Fairbanks (1953) examining vowel intensity in different consonant contexts. The present research question is how the distribution of intensity across vowel spectra in asymmetric consonant contexts (CIVC2 where CI # C2) differs from that in symmetrical contexts (CIVC I where C1 = C ]). Recordings of vowels in both symmetrical and asymmetrical contexts were obtained from adult Midwestern American English speakers who participated in the larger study. The acoustic data obtained includes measurements of the vowel duration, vowel intensity peak (rms), relative location of the rms intensity peak, overall vowel intensity, and the relative amplitude of formants 1-4. This overall research project aims to provide comprehensive analysis of vowel intensity and its role in the processing of the speech signal. It is expected that the internal distribution of intensity will differ among the vowels, depending on the frequency of the formants. However, whether and how this distribution changes in the different consonantal contexts is the question that will be addressed.
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