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Analysis of Spoken Language Department of General & Comparative Linguistics Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel 10.11.2010 Oliver Niebuhr 1 Vowel.

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Presentation on theme: "Analysis of Spoken Language Department of General & Comparative Linguistics Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel 10.11.2010 Oliver Niebuhr 1 Vowel."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Analysis of Spoken Language Department of General & Comparative Linguistics Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel Oliver Niebuhr 1 Vowel characteristics and the perception of assimilation …is resistance futile?

3 Analysis of Spoken Language Department of General & Comparative Linguistics Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel Oliver Niebuhr 2 …cross-linguistic investigation of the phonetics details of assimilation of place of articulation in the –sibilant sequences of French and English using production data collected on the basis of written and acted dialogues. In these dialogues English target words were pseudo names –sibilant sequences created across invented first and last names –framed by symmetrical vowel contexts P4 of S2S: once upon a time…about 3 years ago

4 Analysis of Spoken Language Department of General & Comparative Linguistics Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel Oliver Niebuhr 3 Assimilation condition: /s  / (and /  s/); Reference conditions: /ss/ and /  /; Vowel contexts /  _  /, /  _  /, /  _  / –Viss SimleyVish ShimleyViss Shimley –Vass SabsonVash ShabsonVass Shabson –Voss SomdonVosh ShomdonVoss Shomdon Names were inspired by the phone book of London (in which they did not occur  supports their non-existence) Each name integrated 4 times into short dialogues on everyday topics that were read after training twice (with reversed roles) –by pairs of good friends –who pretended having a spontaneous conversation 8 female speakers → 3 (sequ.) * 3 (vowel ctxts) * 4 (repet.) * 8 (sbs.) = 288 tokens P4 of S2S: once upon a time…about 3 years ago

5 Analysis of Spoken Language Department of General & Comparative Linguistics Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel Oliver Niebuhr 4 P4 of S2S: once upon a time…about 2 years ago A quick glance at the production of the sibilant sequences: from the point of view of centre-of-gravity means and ranges

6 Analysis of Spoken Language Department of General & Comparative Linguistics Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel Oliver Niebuhr 5  very strong alveolar-to-postalveolar assimilations that are in most cases indistinguishable from actual /  / sequences (at least in terms of our spectral measure) However, motivated by informal observations during the segmental labelling of the speech corpora an additional acoustic analysis revealed that –vowels preceding postalveolar sibilants were longer breathier (in terms of harmonic-amplitude diff., H1-H2) softer (in terms of acoustic energy) and had a different quality (esp. F2) –than vowels preceding alveolar sibilants These multiparametric differences persisted even under complete /s/ → [  ] assimilation (for more details cf. Presentation in Cluj) P4 of S2S: about 1 year ago…

7 Analysis of Spoken Language Department of General & Comparative Linguistics Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel Oliver Niebuhr 6  very strong alveolar-to-postalveolar assimilations that are in most cases indistinguishable from actual /  / sequences (at least in terms of our spectral measure) Discriminant analyses: predicted the type of sibilant sequences (/s  / vs. /  s/ and /  /) –  non-significant change-level performance on the basis of the CoG measures – But on the basis of the multiparametric vowel differences almost all sequences were correctly classified as /s  / (87- 96%) or /  s/ (91-100%) for /a/ and /u/ slightly worse performance for /i/, i.e % correct classifications –  highly significant performance P4 of S2S: about 1 year ago…

8 Analysis of Spoken Language Department of General & Comparative Linguistics Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel Oliver Niebuhr 7 122ms, 72.8dB 90ms, 78.9dB So, which utterance refers to „Voss Shombdon“? The sibilant sequences /s  / und /  / have similar CoG (x=5.2kHz, r=1kHz) and duration values (155ms) P4 of S2S: about 1 year ago…

9 Analysis of Spoken Language Department of General & Comparative Linguistics Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel Oliver Niebuhr 8 5 experimental conditions: Reference 1: /v/+Vokal + weakly assimiliated /s  / (= orig.) Reference 2: /v/+Vokal + unassimiliated, actual /  / (= orig.) Target 1: /v/+Vokal + strongly assimilated /s  / (= orig.) (strongly = misclassified as /  / in discriminant analysis) Target 2: /v/+Vokal from Reference 2 replaced the corresponding surname section in Target 1 (= manip.) Target 3: /v/+Vokal from Target 1 replaced the corresponding surname section in Reference 2 (= manip.) 5 conditions created for each of the 3 vowel contexts / , ,  / = 15 Stimuli 2 Stimulus sets: 1 for an overall strongly and 1 for an overall weakly assimilating speaker. All 30 Stimuli were presented in their original utterance contexts. The utterance contexts were roughly balanced across the 30 Stimuli. P4 of S2S: an initial perception experiment

10 Analysis of Spoken Language Department of General & Comparative Linguistics Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel Oliver Niebuhr 9 Separate experimental sessions for each of the 2 speakers. The 15 stimuli in each session were presented 10 times in an overall randomized order. 20 listeners (the same in both sessions) participated in the experiment, 10 starting with speaker 1; 10 starting with speaker 2. All native speakers of BE who worked or studied around Kiel. Subjects received an instruction and a short a set of 9 stimuli for training/familiarization before the first experimental session. Judgements were made by pressing buttons in an 2AFC task. Reaction times were measured along with judgements. P4 of S2S: an initial perception experiment

11 Analysis of Spoken Language Department of General & Comparative Linguistics Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel Oliver Niebuhr 10 Are you familiar with the problem that when hearing the name of a person you sometimes don’t know whether it’s a woman or a man? Well, there is a particular English-speaking area in the world in which this is not a problem at all, as all female first names end in “___ss” and all male first names end in “___sh”. However, like all other English speakers the people in this area can change a word-final “ss” into “sh” if the following word starts with a “sh”. For example, the “Swiss shop” can sound like a “Swish shop”. Likewise, female first names can become similar to male first names if the following family names start with a “sh”. A woman called “Viss Shimley” could be mistaken for a man called “Vish Shimley”. But do such confusions really take place in everyday conversation? TASK: Male or Female?? = Button 1 or Button 2 P4 of S2S: an initial perception experiment

12 Analysis of Spoken Language Department of General & Comparative Linguistics Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel Oliver Niebuhr 11 Task was supported by pictures. We tried to avoid a mere “phoneme-monitoring” behaviour with the task. Subjects had about 5 min. to familiarize them with the picture-name combinations. P4 of S2S: an initial perception experiment

13 Analysis of Spoken Language Department of General & Comparative Linguistics Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel Oliver Niebuhr 12 Results across both sessions, “male” translated into /  /: In the original utterances Reference 2 (actual /  /), Reference 1 (weakly ass. /s  /) and Target 1 (strongly ass. /s  /) the intended sequences were clearly identified. Target 2 triggered more /  / perceptions than Target 1, despite identical sibi. sequ. Target 3 triggered less /  / perceptions than Reference 2, despite ident. sibi. sequ. P4 of S2S: an initial perception experiment

14 Analysis of Spoken Language Department of General & Comparative Linguistics Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel Oliver Niebuhr 13 Results across both sessions, “male” translated into /  /: Overall, the /s  /-/  / differentiation is slightly (but sign.) worse for /i/ than for / ,  / with matches with the vowel-specific performances of the discriminant analysis. Strongly assimilated Target 1 stimuli evoked more /  / perceptions than the weakly assimilated Reference 1 stimuli. P4 of S2S: an initial perception experiment

15 Analysis of Spoken Language Department of General & Comparative Linguistics Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel Oliver Niebuhr 14 Results of reaction times across both sessions: (RT measurements started at vowel onset of surname) Target 1+3 stimuli yielded longer reaction times (note: they were designed to convey conflicting cues in the vowel and sibilant sections)  The Target 2 condition was designed to remove conflicting cues. No vowel-related differences anymore. P4 of S2S: an initial perception experiment

16 Analysis of Spoken Language Department of General & Comparative Linguistics Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel Oliver Niebuhr 15 Brief Conclusion: The different phonetic details of the vowels preceding have a substantial effect on the identification of the following sibilant as either alveolar /s/ or postalveolar /  /.  The same strongly/completely assimilated /s  / sequence can be perceived clearly as either [s  ] or [  ], depending on the preceding vowel. Even an original /  / sequence can be identified by majority as /s  / when preceded by a vowel taken from a /s  / context. Research on the perception of assimilation must look beyond the pair of assimilating and assimilated sound. The findings raise further doubts about the existence of complete assimilation. Similar perception experiments on French will – hopefully – follow this winter (i.e. before Leuven). …IS RESISTANCE FUTILE? NO! P4 of S2S: an initial perception experiment


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