MAURER, D., COOK, N., LANDIS, T. & D'HEUREUSE, C. (1992): Are measured differences between the formants of men, women and children due to F0 differences? Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 21, 66-79.

Abstract (Introduction)

Formant measurement show sex and age differences in the formant patterns of a single vowel category. Comparisons of the formant frequency values of men, women and children indicate low, middle and high values, respectively (Chiba & Kajiyama, 1941; Potter & Steinberg, 1950; Peterson & Barney, 1952). The differences are found for all vowel categories, and they have generally been interpreted as a consequence of different vocal tract size.

Early studies on vowel synthesis (Potter & Steinberg, 1950; Miller, 1953) indicated, and recent investigations on synthetic vowels (Traunmüller, 1981, 1985), vowel synthesizers (Bennet & Rodet, 1989) and analysis of real vocalizations (Maurer et al., 1991) have suggested a direct relationship of the formant pattern with F0. Because of this, the differences in the patterns for men, women and children could stem at least in part from the different F0 of their speech. And if so, the differences should partly disappear when F0 values of the different speaker groups are identical.

This article gives the results of a study which investigated the formant patterns of five German vowels of men, women and children both at the F0 of their normal speech and at the same F0 among the speaker groups.

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