Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Preferred Name - First Author

Casey Behre

Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Advisor(s)

Dr. Christina Kuo

Abstract

Fundamental Frequency (F0) and articulation are two factors of speech production that impact speech perception, and yet the potential interactions of these two factors are not well understood. Their relationship has potential theoretical as well as clinical implications. This Honors Project aims to better understand this relationship by examining changes in fundamental frequency (F0) and the acoustic vowel space as an index of articulatory behaviors with a within-speaker approach. Specifically, F0 variations were examined in relation to the acoustic vowel space for 10 male native speakers of American English. Two sets of acoustic measures were made to evaluate F0 and vowel space characteristics. For F0 variation, F0 trajectories were generated for 20 randomly selected spans of speech (i.e., speech runs) per speaker, per task. To index articulation, the acoustic vowel space for each speaker was calculated from formant frequencies measured at the temporal midpoint of vowels /i/, /æ/, /ɑ/, and /u/. Motivated by the construct of sufficient contrast, which states that spectral distinction must be maintained for sufficient acoustic contrast [Diehl et. al., J. Phon. 24(2) 187-208 (1996)], the hypothesis of the present study was that variations in F0 would be accompanied by adjustments in formant frequencies necessary for maintaining distinction. This study used a within-speaker design to study variation as a means of adaptation within a given speech mechanism. To evaluate the two production factors, correlational and distributional analysis methods were used. Results and directions of continuing work are discussed within the framework of the acoustic theory of vowel production, and potential clinical implications for motor speech disorders and hearing technology are considered.

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