We explore the use of two spectral measures calculated in ERB space for differentiating between the frication noise of sibilants in Mandarin Chinese and Korean. The peak frequency (peakERB) of the spectral representation was used to capture differences in front cavity size and a compactness index (CI) was used to capture the bandwidth of the peak. In both /a/ and /i/ vowel contexts the peakERB measure differentiated between Mandarin [s], [ɕ], and [ʃ], and also between Korean [sh] and [s*] which, although considered to be articulated at the same place, differ in front cavity size due to the tighter lingual constriction of [s*]. The CI measure helped further differentiate the fricatives, with Mandarin [ɕ] having a broader peak (higher CI) than [s] or [ʃ], and Korean [sha] having a broader peak than [s*a]. When applied to the L2 Korean productions of L1 Mandarin speakers, we found evidence for both Korean fricatives assimilating to Mandarin [s] before /a/, and to Mandarin [ɕ] before /i/.
Index Terms: sibilant fricatives, Mandarin Chinese, Korean
Bibliographic reference. Kallay, Jeffrey / Holliday, Jeffrey (2012): "Using spectral measures to differentiate Mandarin and Korean sibilant fricatives", In INTERSPEECH-2012, 118-121.