8th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Antwerp, Belgium
August 27-31, 2007

The Intelligibility and Its Relations to Acoustic Characteristics of English /s/ and /esh/ Produced by Native Speakers of Japanese

Akiyo Joto (1), Yoshiki Nagase (2), Seiya Funatsu (1)

(1) Prefectural University of Hiroshima, Japan
(2) University of Yamanashi, Japan

This paper examined the intelligibility of English /s/ and /esh/ followed by the vowel /ilengthmark/ produced by 20 native speakers of Japanese (JE /s/, JE /esh/), and the acoustic characteristics of JE /s/ and /esh/ according to the different levels of intelligibility. Five native English speakers evaluated the intelligibility of JE /s/ and /esh/ in the word-initial position of "seat" and "sheet." The major energy peak locations were analyzed for /s/ and /esh/ produced by Japanese speakers and native English speakers, and for the Japanese sibilant /ctc/.

It was found that the overall intelligibility was lower for JE /esh/ than for /s/ and that JE /s/ and /esh/ with low intelligibility were heard as /esh/ and /s/, respectively. When the intelligibility was lower, JE /s/ had energy peaks in the lower frequencies, and JE /esh/, in the higher frequencies, having characteristics similar to /ctc/. L1 transfer occurred in the pronunciation of English /s/ and /esh/ by Japanese speakers.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Joto, Akiyo / Nagase, Yoshiki / Funatsu, Seiya (2007): "The intelligibility and its relations to acoustic characteristics of English /s/ and /esh/ produced by native speakers of Japanese", In INTERSPEECH-2007, 2321-2324.