ISCA Archive ICSLP 1994
ISCA Archive ICSLP 1994

Distinguishing the voiceless fricatives f and TH in English: a study of relevant acoustic properties

Kazue Hata, Heather Moran, Steve Pearson

Distinguishing between the voiceless fricatives F and TH is a difficult problem for both natural speech and synthetic speech. We report the results of experiments and spectral analyses designed to find distinguishing acoustic characteristics of the voiceless fricatives F and TH. These experiments were also designed in consideration of our hybrid text-to-speech system, which combines formant synthesis with concatenated units from natural speech. In our system, the intelligibility of initial stops has improved dramatically in comparison with the formant-synthesizer-only version of our system, but F and TH are still highly confusable [1]. In this study, we used only natural speech, and conducted perceptual experiments by using frication-only stimuli and stimuli combining frication with segments of the following vowel. The results showed that when a frication portion alone was presented, F was correctly identified more often than TH. When the frication portion with the entire following vowel was presented, the identification of F showed significant improvement, reaching more than 90% for the /a u/ vowel contexts, and for the /i/ context, increasing from 40 to 78%. By contrast, the identification of TH failed to show any significant improvement.


Cite as: Hata, K., Moran, H., Pearson, S. (1994) Distinguishing the voiceless fricatives f and TH in English: a study of relevant acoustic properties. Proc. 3rd International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (ICSLP 1994), 327-330

@inproceedings{hata94_icslp,
  author={Kazue Hata and Heather Moran and Steve Pearson},
  title={{Distinguishing the voiceless fricatives f and TH in English: a study of relevant acoustic properties}},
  year=1994,
  booktitle={Proc. 3rd International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (ICSLP 1994)},
  pages={327--330}
}