14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999

Vowel Duration and Spectra as Perceptual Cues to Vowel Quantity: A Comparison of Japanese and Swedish

Dawn Behne (1), Takayuki Arai (2), Peter Czigler (3), Kirk P. M. Sullivan (3)

(1) Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
(2) Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan
(3) Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden

A distinction in vowel quantity is typically realized acoustically by vowel duration. Research on the perception of Swedish vowel quantity supports this and further suggests that when the duration of a vowel is relatively long (due, e.g., to inherent duration), vowel quantity may not be adequately cued by duration alone and may also make use of the vowel spectra to distinguish vowel quantities. If this account of the Swedish findings is correct, other languages which have vowel quantity distinctions would be expected to show a similar pattern.
   The current project investigates the perceptual cues used to distinguish vowels quantities in Japanese. Of particular interest is whether Japanese listeners use spectral cues to identify the quantity of vowels which have a relatively long inherent duration. Results are compared with the findings for Swedish and discussed in terms of the perceptual role of vowel duration and spectra as cues for vowel quantity.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Behne, Dawn / Arai, Takayuki / Czigler, Peter / Sullivan, Kirk P. M. (1999): "Vowel duration and spectra as perceptual cues to vowel quantity: a comparison of Japanese and Swedish", In ICPhS-14, 857-860.