Effect of Voice Quality on Perceived Height of English Vowels

Andrew J Lotto, L. L. Holt, K. R. Kluender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Across a variety of languages, phonation type and vocal-tract shape systematically covary in vowel production. Breathy phonation tends to accompany vowels produced with a raised tongue body and/or advanced tongue root. A potential explanation for this regularity, based on a hypothesized interaction between the acoustic effects of vocal-tract shape and phonation type, is evaluated. It is suggested that increased spectral tilt and first-harmonic amplitude resulting from breathy phonation interact with the lower-frequency first formant resulting from a raised tongue body to produce a perceptually 'higher' vowel. To test this hypothesis, breathy and modal versions of vowel series modelled after male and female productions of English vowel pairs /i/ and /I/, /u/ and /℧/, and /Λ/ and /a/ were synthesized. Results indicate that for most cases, breathy voice quality led to more tokens being identified as the higher vowel (i.e. /i/, /u/, /Λ/). In addition, the effect of voice quality is greater for vowels modelled after female productions. These results are consistent with a hypothesized perceptual explanation for the covariation of phonation type and tongue-root advancement in West African languages. The findings may also be relevant to gender differences in phonation type.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-93
Number of pages18
JournalPhonetica
Volume54
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1997
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

vowels
tongue
language
regularity
acoustics
gender-specific factors
interaction
Phonation
Voice Quality
English Vowels
low frequencies
harmonics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

Lotto, A. J., Holt, L. L., & Kluender, K. R. (1997). Effect of Voice Quality on Perceived Height of English Vowels. Phonetica, 54(2), 76-93.

Effect of Voice Quality on Perceived Height of English Vowels. / Lotto, Andrew J; Holt, L. L.; Kluender, K. R.

In: Phonetica, Vol. 54, No. 2, 06.1997, p. 76-93.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Lotto, AJ, Holt, LL & Kluender, KR 1997, 'Effect of Voice Quality on Perceived Height of English Vowels', Phonetica, vol. 54, no. 2, pp. 76-93.
Lotto, Andrew J ; Holt, L. L. ; Kluender, K. R. / Effect of Voice Quality on Perceived Height of English Vowels. In: Phonetica. 1997 ; Vol. 54, No. 2. pp. 76-93.
@article{97c25ada040b41809bff3f0243debf49,
title = "Effect of Voice Quality on Perceived Height of English Vowels",
abstract = "Across a variety of languages, phonation type and vocal-tract shape systematically covary in vowel production. Breathy phonation tends to accompany vowels produced with a raised tongue body and/or advanced tongue root. A potential explanation for this regularity, based on a hypothesized interaction between the acoustic effects of vocal-tract shape and phonation type, is evaluated. It is suggested that increased spectral tilt and first-harmonic amplitude resulting from breathy phonation interact with the lower-frequency first formant resulting from a raised tongue body to produce a perceptually 'higher' vowel. To test this hypothesis, breathy and modal versions of vowel series modelled after male and female productions of English vowel pairs /i/ and /I/, /u/ and /℧/, and /Λ/ and /a/ were synthesized. Results indicate that for most cases, breathy voice quality led to more tokens being identified as the higher vowel (i.e. /i/, /u/, /Λ/). In addition, the effect of voice quality is greater for vowels modelled after female productions. These results are consistent with a hypothesized perceptual explanation for the covariation of phonation type and tongue-root advancement in West African languages. The findings may also be relevant to gender differences in phonation type.",
author = "Lotto, {Andrew J} and Holt, {L. L.} and Kluender, {K. R.}",
year = "1997",
month = "6",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "54",
pages = "76--93",
journal = "Phonetica",
issn = "0031-8388",
publisher = "S. Karger AG",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Effect of Voice Quality on Perceived Height of English Vowels

AU - Lotto, Andrew J

AU - Holt, L. L.

AU - Kluender, K. R.

PY - 1997/6

Y1 - 1997/6

N2 - Across a variety of languages, phonation type and vocal-tract shape systematically covary in vowel production. Breathy phonation tends to accompany vowels produced with a raised tongue body and/or advanced tongue root. A potential explanation for this regularity, based on a hypothesized interaction between the acoustic effects of vocal-tract shape and phonation type, is evaluated. It is suggested that increased spectral tilt and first-harmonic amplitude resulting from breathy phonation interact with the lower-frequency first formant resulting from a raised tongue body to produce a perceptually 'higher' vowel. To test this hypothesis, breathy and modal versions of vowel series modelled after male and female productions of English vowel pairs /i/ and /I/, /u/ and /℧/, and /Λ/ and /a/ were synthesized. Results indicate that for most cases, breathy voice quality led to more tokens being identified as the higher vowel (i.e. /i/, /u/, /Λ/). In addition, the effect of voice quality is greater for vowels modelled after female productions. These results are consistent with a hypothesized perceptual explanation for the covariation of phonation type and tongue-root advancement in West African languages. The findings may also be relevant to gender differences in phonation type.

AB - Across a variety of languages, phonation type and vocal-tract shape systematically covary in vowel production. Breathy phonation tends to accompany vowels produced with a raised tongue body and/or advanced tongue root. A potential explanation for this regularity, based on a hypothesized interaction between the acoustic effects of vocal-tract shape and phonation type, is evaluated. It is suggested that increased spectral tilt and first-harmonic amplitude resulting from breathy phonation interact with the lower-frequency first formant resulting from a raised tongue body to produce a perceptually 'higher' vowel. To test this hypothesis, breathy and modal versions of vowel series modelled after male and female productions of English vowel pairs /i/ and /I/, /u/ and /℧/, and /Λ/ and /a/ were synthesized. Results indicate that for most cases, breathy voice quality led to more tokens being identified as the higher vowel (i.e. /i/, /u/, /Λ/). In addition, the effect of voice quality is greater for vowels modelled after female productions. These results are consistent with a hypothesized perceptual explanation for the covariation of phonation type and tongue-root advancement in West African languages. The findings may also be relevant to gender differences in phonation type.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0030631610&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0030631610&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

C2 - 9248064

AN - SCOPUS:0030631610

VL - 54

SP - 76

EP - 93

JO - Phonetica

JF - Phonetica

SN - 0031-8388

IS - 2

ER -