A statistical, formant-pattern model for segregating vowel type and vocal-tract length in developmental formant data

Richard E. Turner, Thomas C. Walters, Jessica J M Monaghan, Roy D. Patterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This paper investigates the theoretical basis for estimating vocal-tract length (VTL) from the formant frequencies of vowel sounds. A statistical inference model was developed to characterize the relationship between vowel type and VTL, on the one hand, and formant frequency and vocal cavity size, on the other. The model was applied to two well known developmental studies of formant frequency. The results show that VTL is the major source of variability after vowel type and that the contribution due to other factors like developmental changes in oral-pharyngeal ratio is small relative to the residual measurement noise. The results suggest that speakers adjust the shape of the vocal tract as they grow to maintain a specific pattern of formant frequencies for individual vowels. This formant-pattern hypothesis motivates development of a statistical-inference model for estimating VTL from formant-frequency data. The technique is illustrated using a third developmental study of formant frequencies. The VTLs of the speakers are estimated and used to provide a more accurate description of the complicated relationship between VTL and glottal pulse rate as children mature into adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2374-2386
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Volume125
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2009 Acoustical Society of America. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the Acoustical Society of America. The following article appeared in Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Vol. 125, Issue. 4, pp.2374 - 2386 and may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3079772

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A statistical, formant-pattern model for segregating vowel type and vocal-tract length in developmental formant data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this