ISCA Archive SCST 1990
ISCA Archive SCST 1990

The effects of breathy voice on intelligibility

Hector Javkin, Brian Hanson, Abigail Kaun

Breathiness is used to form linguistic contrasts in some languages, but also characterizes speakers as individuals and, to an extent, by gender. The acoustic consequences of breathy phonation are varied, and separable in synthetic speech: they include the introduction of a frication component into the voice source, a raising of the relative amplitude of the first harmonic and a lowering of the overall spectral tilt. Henton and Bladon (1985) claimed that breathiness diminishes intelligibility. Javkin, Hanson and Kaun (1989) argued that there were technical problems with Henton and Bladon's claim and showed that adding a frication component to a modal voice source did not increase difference limen for vowels. However, Javkin et al did not test intelligibility itself nor did they test the other effects of breathiness. The experiment described in the present paper used synthetic speech to separate and measure the effects of the different acoustic consequences of breathiness on the intelligibility of isolated words. No significant effect was found.

Cite as: Javkin, H., Hanson, B., Kaun, A. (1990) The effects of breathy voice on intelligibility. Proc. ESCA Workshop on Speaker Characterization in Speech Technology, 131-134

  author={Hector Javkin and Brian Hanson and Abigail Kaun},
  title={{The effects of breathy voice on intelligibility}},
  booktitle={Proc. ESCA Workshop on Speaker Characterization in Speech Technology},