Volume 126, Issue 5, November 2009
Index of content:
- SPEECH PRODUCTION 
126(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3216913View Description Hide Description
Speech of children with cleft lip and palate (CLP) is sometimes still disordered even after adequate surgical and nonsurgical therapies. Such speech shows complex articulation disorders, which are usually assessed perceptually, consuming time and manpower. Hence, there is a need for an easy to apply and reliable automatic method. To create a reference for an automatic system,speech data of 58 children with CLP were assessed perceptually by experienced speech therapists for characteristic phonetic disorders at the phoneme level. The first part of the article aims to detect such characteristics by a semiautomatic procedure and the second to evaluate a fully automatic, thus simple, procedure. The methods are based on a combination of speech processing algorithms. The semiautomatic method achieves moderate to good agreement for the detection of all phonetic disorders. On a speaker level, significant correlations between the perceptual evaluation and the automatic system of 0.89 are obtained. The fully automatic system yields a correlation on the speaker level of 0.81 to the perceptual evaluation. This correlation is in the range of the inter-rater correlation of the listeners. The automatic speech evaluation is able to detectphonetic disorders at an experts’level without any additional human postprocessing.
126(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3212921View Description Hide Description
This study aims to characterize the nature of the dynamic spectral change in vowels in three distinct regional varieties of American English spoken in the Western North Carolina, in Central Ohio, and in Southern Wisconsin. The vowels /ɪ, ε, e, æ, aɪ/ were produced by 48 women for a total of 1920 utterances and were contained in words of the structure /bVts/ and /bVdz/ in sentences which elicited nonemphatic and emphatic vowels.Measurements made at the vowel target (i.e., the central 60% of the vowel) produced a set of acoustic parameters which included position and movement in the F1 by F2 space, vowel duration, amount of spectral change [measured as vector length (VL) and trajectory length (TL)], and spectral rate of change. Results revealed expected variation in formant dynamics as a function of phonetic factors (vowel emphasis and consonantal context). However, for each vowel and for each measure employed, dialect was a strong source of variation in vowel-inherent spectral change. In general, the dialect-specific nature and amount of spectral change can be characterized quite effectively by position and movement in the F1 by F2 space, vowel duration, TL (but not VL which underestimates formant movement), and spectral rate of change.
126(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3224706View Description Hide Description
Over the past several decades, many acoustic markers have been proposed to be sensitive to and measure overall voice quality. This meta-analysis presents a retrospective appraisal of scientific reports, which evaluated the relation between perceived overall voice quality and several acoustic-phonetic correlates. Twenty-five studies met the inclusion criteria and were evaluated using meta-analytic techniques. Correlation coefficients between perceptual judgments and acoustic measures were computed. Where more than one correlation coefficient for a specific acoustic marker was available, a weighted average correlation coefficient was calculated. This was the case in 36 acoustic measures on sustained vowels and in 3 measures on continuous speech. Acoustic measures were ranked according to the strength of the correlation with perceptual voice quality ratings. Acoustic markers with more than one correlation value available in literature and yielding a homogeneous weighted of 0.60 or above were considered to be superior. The meta-analysis identified four measures that met these criteria in sustained vowels and three measures in continuous speech. Although acoustic measures are routinely utilized in clinical voice examinations, the results of this meta-analysis suggest that caution is warranted regarding the concurrent validity and thus the clinical utility of many of these measures.