Volume 129, Issue 5, May 2011
Index of content:
- SPEECH PERCEPTION 
129(2011); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3562562View Description Hide Description
Within the debate on the mechanisms underlying infants’ perceptual acquisition, one hypothesis proposes that infants’ perception is directly affected by the acoustic implementation of sound categories in the speech they hear. In consonance with this view, the present study shows that individual variation in fine-grained, subphonemic aspects of the acoustic realization of /s/ in caregivers’ speech predicts infants’ discrimination of this sound from the highly similar /∫/, suggesting that learning based on acoustic cue distributions may indeed drive natural phonological acquisition.
129(2011); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3570957View Description Hide Description
Due to the limited number of cochlear implanteesspeaking Mandarin Chinese, it is extremely difficult to evaluate new speech coding algorithms designed for tonal languages. Access to an intelligibility index that could reliably predict the intelligibility of vocoded (and non-vocoded) Mandarin Chinese is a viable solution to address this challenge. The speech-transmission index (STI) and coherence-based intelligibility measures, among others, have been examined extensively for predicting the intelligibility of English speech but have not been evaluated for vocoded or wideband (non-vocoded) Mandarin speech despite the perceptual differences between the two languages. The results indicated that the coherence-based measures seem to be influenced by the characteristics of the spoken language. The highest correlation (r= 0.91–0.97) was obtained in Mandarin Chinese with a weighted coherence measure that included primarily information from high-intensity voiced segments (e.g., vowels) containing F0 information, known to be important for lexical tone recognition. In contrast, in English, highest correlation was obtained with a coherence measure that included information from weak consonants and vowel/consonant transitions. A band-importance function was proposed that captured information about the amplitude envelope contour. A higher modulation rate (100 Hz) was found necessary for the STI-based measures for maximum correlation (r = 0.94–0.96) with vocoded Mandarin and English recognition.
Comparative intelligibility investigation of single-channel noise-reduction algorithms for Chinese, Japanese, and Englisha)129(2011); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3571422View Description Hide Description
A large number of single-channel noise-reduction algorithms have been proposed based largely on mathematical principles. Most of these algorithms, however, have been evaluated with English speech. Given the different perceptual cues used by native listeners of different languages including tonal languages, it is of interest to examine whether there are any language effects when the same noise-reduction algorithm is used to process noisy speech in different languages. A comparative evaluation and investigation is taken in this study of various single-channel noise-reduction algorithms applied to noisy speech taken from three languages: Chinese, Japanese, and English. Clean speech signals (Chinese words and Japanese words) were first corrupted by three types of noise at two signal-to-noise ratios and then processed by five single-channel noise-reduction algorithms. The processed signals were finally presented to normal-hearing listeners for recognition. Intelligibility evaluation showed that the majority of noise-reduction algorithms did not improve speech intelligibility. Consistent with a previous study with the English language, the Wiener filtering algorithm produced small, but statistically significant, improvements in intelligibility for car and white noise conditions. Significant differences between the performances of noise-reduction algorithms across the three languages were observed.