Vowel sounds produced with varying production parameters:
Conceptualisation and realisation of a database
Dieter Maurer (1), Thayabaran Kathiresan (2), Volker Dellwo (2)
(1) Institute for the Performing Arts and Film
Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland
(2) Phonetics Laboratory, Department of Comparative Linguistics,
University of Zurich, Switzerland
With regard to vowel sounds, there is no extensive, empirical database that documents systematic variation of basic production parameters. However, we consider such a corpus to be a prerequisite for a deeper understanding of both phoneme- and speaker-dependent acoustic characteristics. Cur-rently, we are working on a corresponding database for Standard German vowels. In the following, the concept and status of realisation of this database, limited to the investigation of untrained speak-ers, is presented.
Concept: Untrained speakers (children, women, men) are
selected according to three qualitative criteria: (1) a large vocal
range (two octaves for adults and 1.5 octave for children at minimum),
(2) the ability to reproduce sounds on a given fo, and (3) a clear
spontaneous vowel articulation for a range of fo of one octave at
Actual status: Up to now, we have recorded eight adults and
eight children (gender balanced). With the exception of one child, all
speakers produced the sounds over a vocal range of two octaves or more.
Considering that there is a vowel sound for each production condition
(sound selection ac-cording to the highest identification score of the
listening test), in average, c. 500 systematic recordings are
available for each single speaker, or c. 8000 recordings for all 16
Additional note: In parallel, we are also recording the sounds of professional singers and speakers, including additional variations of production parameters, such as production style, phoneme context in minimal pairs, and creak phonation.