8th European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology

Geneva, Switzerland
September 1-4, 2003


The /i/-/a/-/u/-ness of Spoken Vowels

Hartmut R. Pfitzinger

University of Munich, Germany

This paper investigates acoustic, phonetic, and phonological representations of spoken vowels. For this purpose four experiments have been conducted. First, by drawing the analogy between the spectral energy distribution of vowels and the vowel space concept of Dependency Phonology, we achieve a new phonologically motivated vowel quality representation of spoken vowels which we name the / i/-/ a/-/ u/- ness. As a second step, it is shown that the extension of this approach is connected with the work of Pols, van der Kamp & Plomp 1969 [1] who, among other things, predicted formant frequencies from the spectral energy distribution of vowels. Third, the vowel quality relating to the IPA vowel diagram is derived directly from the spectral energy distribution. Finally, we compare this method with a formant and fundamental frequency based approach introduced by Pfitzinger 2003 [2]. While both the /i/-/a/-/u/-ness of vowels as well as the perceived vowel quality prediction are quite robust and therefore useful for both signal pre-processing and vowel quality research, the formant prediction achieved the lowest accuracy for the mapping to the IPA vowel diagram.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Pfitzinger, Hartmut R. (2003): "The /i/-/a/-/u/-ness of spoken vowels", In EUROSPEECH-2003, 809-812.