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Trends in Phonetics and Phonology

Studies from German-speaking Europe

Edited By Adrian Leemann, Marie-José Kolly, Stephan Schmid and Volker Dellwo

This volume was inspired by the 9th edition of the Phonetik & Phonologie conference, held in Zurich in October 2013. It includes state of the art research on phonetics and phonology in various languages and from interdisciplinary contributors. The volume is structured into the following eight sections: segmentals, suprasegmentals, articulation in spoken and sign language, perception, phonology, crowdsourcing phonetic data, second language speech, and arts (with inevitable overlap between these areas).
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Methodological issues in the acoustic analysis of steady state vowels



Formant frequency analysis represents the current standard for determining speech-specific acoustic characteristics of vowel sounds: For sounds with quasi-constant spectral characteristics, according to source-filter theory, vowel quality relates to vowel-specific formant patterns. With regard to the determination of formant frequencies, -bandwidths, and -amplitudes, current methods in general rely on linear prediction (LP) and on visual inspection of spectrograms. Both methods require a high degree of experience and expertise. Above all, first, inappropriate selection of parameter settings for LP analysis often produces unreliable numerical values in general; second, crosscheck of calculated formant values on the basis of spectrograms is limited, thus makes formant analysis of large samples of vowel sounds difficult; and third, severe difficulties in formant measurement occur in cases of sounds exhibiting high fundamental frequencies. The present paper discusses the basic aspects of the two analysis methods mentioned, and relates these aspects to the investigation of large databases and the investigation of an extensive variation of fundamental frequency.


Acoustic analysis, vowel, fundamental, formant frequency, formant merging, spurious formants

*   Corresponding author:, Tel: +41 44 63 40234

a   Phonetics Laboratory, Department of Comparative Linguistics, University of Zurich, Plattenstrasse 54, 8032 Zurich, Switzerland

b   Institute for the Performing Arts and Film, Zurich University of the Arts, Gessnerallee 11, 8001 Zurich, Switzerland ← 49 | 50 →

1.0   Introduction

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