Volume 118, Issue 5, November 2005
Index of content:
- SPEECH PERCEPTION 
Intelligibilities of 1-octave rectangular bands spanning the speech spectrum when heard separately and paired118(2005); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.2047228View Description Hide Description
There is a need, both for speech theory and for many practical applications, to know the intelligibilities of individual passbands that span the speech spectrum when they are heard singly and in combination. While indirect procedures have been employed for estimating passband intelligibilities (e.g., the Speech Intelligibility Index), direct measurements have been blocked by the confounding contributions from transition band slopes that accompany filtering. A recent study has reported that slopes of several thousand dBA∕octave produced by high-order finite impulse response filtering were required to produce the effectively rectangular bands necessary to eliminate appreciable contributions from transition bands [Warren et al. , J. Acoust. Soc. Am.115, 1292–1295 (2004)]. Using such essentially vertical slopes, the present study employed sentences, and reports the intelligibilities of their six 1-octave contiguous passbands having center frequencies from when heard alone, and for each of their 15 possible pairings.
Phonetic training with acoustic cue manipulations: A comparison of methods for teaching English /r/-/l/ to Japanese adults118(2005); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.2062307View Description Hide Description
Recent work [Iverson et al. (2003) Cognition, 87, B47–57] has suggested that Japanese adults have difficulty learning English /r/ and /l/ because they are overly sensitive to acoustic cues that are not reliable for /r/-/l/ categorization (e.g., F2 frequency). This study investigated whether cue weightings are altered by auditory training, and compared the effectiveness of different training techniques. Separate groups of subjects received High Variability Phonetic Training (natural words from multiple talkers), and 3 techniques in which the natural recordings were altered via signal processing (All Enhancement, with F3 contrast maximized and closure duration lengthened; Perceptual Fading, with F3 enhancement reduced during training; and Secondary Cue Variability, with variation in F2 and durations increased during training). The results demonstrated that all of the training techniques improved /r/-/l/ identification by Japanese listeners, but there were no differences between the techniques. Training also altered the use of secondary acoustic cues; listeners became biased to identify stimuli as English /l/ when the cues made them similar to the Japanese /r/ category, and reduced their use of secondary acoustic cues for stimuli that were dissimilar to Japanese /r/. The results suggest that both category assimilation and perceptual interference affect English /r/ and /l/ acquisition.