ISCA & IEEE Workshop on Spontaneous Speech Processing and Recognition

April 13-16, 2003
Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan

Vowel Reduction in Spontaneous Spoken Dutch

Marc Swerts (1), Hanne Kloots (1), Steven Gillis (1), Georges de Schutter (2)

(1) Center for Dutch Language and Speech (CNTS), Antwerp University, Belgium
(2) Faculty of Arts, Communication and Cognition, University of Tilburg, The Netherlands

This paper reports on a study of vowel reduction in contemporary Standard Dutch. The focus is on the first, unstressed syllable of four bisyllabic Dutch words: moment, manier, probeer(t) and docent. Vowel reduction is studied in a corpus of spontaneously spoken Standard Dutch, produced by 80 Flemish and 80 Dutch teachers of Dutch. Three labelers independently evaluated and scored the stimuli on a seven point scale with ‘long vowel’ and ‘complete deletion’ as its extreme values. Three main types of vowel reduction were distinguished: reduction to schwa (e.g. moment > m[@]ment), vowel shortening (e.g. m[o:]ment > m[o]ment) and complete reduction (e.g. moment > ‘ment). Short vowels appeared to be most frequent, especially in Flanders. Reduction to schwa and complete reduction only occurred in the Netherlands. The Dutch material also supports the assumption that in highfrequency words vowels are more easily reduced than in words with a lower frequency.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Swerts, Marc / Kloots, Hanne / Gillis, Steven / Schutter, Georges de (2003): "Vowel reduction in spontaneous spoken Dutch", in SSPR-2003, paper MAO4.