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

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

Estimating Speaker Age Across Languages

Angelika Braun (1), Loredana Cerrato (2)

(1) Bundeskriminalamt, Wiesbaden, Germany
(2) Fondazione Ugo Bordoni, Rome, Italy

This study aims to investigate the accuracy of subjective age estimation based on vocal cues alone, i.e. when hardly any linguistic information is available to the listener. An experiment was carried out involving a total of 40 speakers, 20 of whom were native speakers of German and 20 native speakers of Italian. Both groups produced standardized texts of about 45 sec. duration. These sets of stimuli were first presented to samelanguage listener groups in the two countries. The German tape was then assessed by 20 Italian college students who had no knowledge of German, and the Italian tape was played to 20 German listeners who had no knowledge of Italian. Listeners had to estimate speaker age to the exact year. Results show that there was no significant difference in the performance of listener groups depending on the language of the stimuli, i.e. listeners did not benefit substantially from their knowledge of the respective language. The experiment also revealed that listeners were remarkably correct at estimating the age of some speakers but not that of others.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Braun, Angelika / Cerrato, Loredana (1999): "Estimating speaker age across languages", In ICPhS-14, 1369-1372.