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Volume 115, Issue 1, January 2004
- SPEECH PRODUCTION 
115(2004); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.1631946View Description Hide Description
A method is proposed to model the interspeaker variability of formantpatterns for oral vowels. It is assumed that this variability originates in the differences existing among speakers in the respective lengths of their front and back vocal-tract cavities. In order to characterize, from the spectral description of the acoustic speech signal, these vocal-tract differences between speakers, each formant is interpreted, according to the concept of formant–cavity affiliation, as a resonance of a specific vocal-tract cavity. Its frequency can thus be directly related to the corresponding cavity length, and a transformation model can be proposed from a speaker A to a speaker B on the basis of the frequency ratios of the formants corresponding to the same resonances. In order to minimize the number of sounds to be recorded for each speaker in order to carry out this speaker transformation, the frequency ratios are exactly computed only for the three extreme cardinal vowels [i, a, u] and they are approximated for the remaining vowels through an interpolation function. The method is evaluated through its capacity to transform the formantpatterns of eight oral vowels pronounced by five male speakers into the patterns of the corresponding vowels generated by an articulatory model of the vocal tract. The resulting formantpatterns are compared to those provided by normalization techniques published in the literature. The proposed method is found to be efficient, but a number of limitations are also observed and discussed. These limitations can be associated with the formant–cavity affiliation model itself or with a possible influence of speaker-specific vocal-tract geometry in the cross-sectional direction, which the model might not have taken into account.