Interspeech'2005 - Eurospeech

Lisbon, Portugal
September 4-8, 2005

Cross-Linguistic Comparison of Two-Year-Old Children's Acoustic Vowel Spaces: Contrasting Hungarian with Dutch

Krisztina Zajdó (1), Jeannette M. van der Stelt (2), Ton G. Wempe (2), Louis C. W. Pols (2)

(1) University of Wyoming, USA; (2) University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Traditional hand-edited formant measurements may result in biased assessment of vowel formants in children's speech. Therefore, vowel spaces that are constructed by hand-edited formant measures may be unreliable. The recent development of an automated frequency domain analysis method allows for more reliable measurements. Thus, a valid comparison of the size and positioning of young children's vowel spaces across languages can be achieved. Contrasting the extension of the vowel space utilized by young children acquiring Hungarian and Dutch can provide information pertaining to a) children's abilities to explore the vowel space and b) potential cross-linguistic differences in exploiting the potentially available acoustic vowel space. Since a unified theory of vowel acquisition has never been developed, it is hoped that the new method will contribute to the creation of such a theory by comparing and contrasting results from diverse languages. Results suggest that two-year-old Hungarian- and Dutch-speaking children utilize the vowel space language-specifically, by exploiting different regions within the potentially available acoustic space.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Zajdó, Krisztina / Stelt, Jeannette M. van der / Wempe, Ton G. / Pols, Louis C. W. (2005): "Cross-linguistic comparison of two-year-old children's acoustic vowel spaces: contrasting Hungarian with dutch", In INTERSPEECH-2005, 1173-1176.