Études de linguistique et littérature romanes – Studi di linguistica e letteratura romanza – Estudios de lingüística y literatura románicas
What does voice and silence tell us about speaker identity?An introduction to temporal speaker individualities and their use for forensic speaker comparison.
Next to an intellectual interest in why speakers possess individual voices there are applications where such knowledge is vital: Recordings of a criminal’s voice during the conduction of crime frequently become evidence in post-crime forensic investigations (Dellwo et al. 2014, Rose 2002, Nolan 1997, Künzel 1987). Typical cases range from more trivial issues like recordings of hoax calls to emergency numbers over sexual harassment via the phone to highly serious crime, like calls of kidnappers to victims or the police or phone calls or taped messages from terrorist groups. In such cases a forensic phonetic expert’s task is typically to estimate the probability by which two or more speech samples are from the same or different speakers (e.g. whether voice samples from a suspect and a perpetrator are from an identical speaker or not). This process is referred to as forensic phonetic voice comparison (Nolan 1997). Forensic phonetic voice comparison is based on the one hand on a systematic analysis of auditory characteristics concerning a speaker’s dialect, sociolect, emotional state, health condition, etc. (Jessen 2007) and, on the other hand, expert witnesses use acoustic measurements to obtain data that is typically not retrievable by the human ear (e.g. average frequencies of vocal tract resonances or their dynamics). In the present article we are particularly concerned with retrieving evidence from the acoustic analysis of speech.
Forensic phonetic speaker comparison underlies the assumption that speech contains speaker idiosyncratic or...
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