14thAnnual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Lyon, France
August 25-29, 2013

Linking Loudness Increases in Normal and Lombard Speech to Decreasing Vowel Formant Separation

Elizabeth Godoy (1), Catherine Mayo (2), Yannis Stylianou (1)

(1) FORTH, Greece
(2) University of Edinburgh, UK

The increased vocal effort associated with the Lombard reflex produces speech that is perceived as louder and judged to be more intelligible in noise than normal speech. Previous work illustrates that, on average, Lombard increases in loudness result from boosting spectral energy in a frequency band spanning the range of formants F1-F3, particularly for voiced speech. Observing additionally that increases in loudness across spoken sentences are spectro-temporally localized, the goal of this work is to further isolate these regions of maximal loudness by linking them to specific formant trends, explicitly considering here the vowel formant separation. For both normal and Lombard speech, this work illustrates that, as loudness increases in frequency bands containing formants (e.g. F1-F2 or F2-F3), the observed separation between formant frequencies decreases. From a production standpoint, these results seem to highlight a physiological trait associated with how humans increase the loudness of their speech, namely moving vocal tract resonances closer together. Particularly, for Lombard speech, this phenomena is exaggerated: that is, the Lombard speech is louder and formants in corresponding spectro-temporal regions are even closer together.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Godoy, Elizabeth / Mayo, Catherine / Stylianou, Yannis (2013): "Linking loudness increases in normal and lombard speech to decreasing vowel formant separation", In INTERSPEECH-2013, 133-137.