5th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Sydney, Australia
November 30 - December 4, 1998

The Importance Of F0 or Voice Pitch for Perception of Tonal Language: Simulations With Cochlear Implant Speech Processing Strategies

Robert Alexander Fearn

School of Physics, University of New South Wales, Australia

Cochlear implants were initially distributed in Western countries. The speech processing strategies that have been developed to drive the implants provide detailed information about the spectral envelope and transients. This information is necessary to identify the phonemes of English and other Western languages. Cochlear implants have more recently been distributed in Eastern countries where tonal languages such as Mandarin and Cantonese are spoken. In addition to spectral envelope and transient information, tonal languages require finer resolution of pitch to distinguish different words. Speech processing strategies only provide the cochlear implant user with relatively low resolution of pitch. This study investigates the importance of voice pitch (F0) in detection of phonetically identical Cantonese words, which vary in pitch. Simulations of speech processing strategies were performed with a normal hearing subject and the results suggest that F0 is very important for correct identification of tonal words.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Fearn, Robert Alexander (1998): "The importance of F0 or voice pitch for perception of tonal language: simulations with cochlear implant speech processing strategies", In ICSLP-1998, paper 0666.