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

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

The Acoustics of Vowels in Japanese Womens' Speech to Infants and Adults

Jean E. Andruski (1), Patricia K. Kuhl (2), Akiko Hayashi (3)

(1) Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA
(2) University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
(3) Tokyo Gakugei University, Tokyo, Japan

The point vowels ([i], [u] and [a]) reach more extreme acoustic targets in infant-directed (ID) speech than in adult-directed (AD) speech. This increases the distance between vowel categories along the F1-F2 dimensions and may assist young infants in separating ambient vowel sounds into native language categories. In AD speech, citation form vowels also reach more extreme acoustic targets than vowels from conversation. Are ID vowels equivalent in structure to AD citation form vowels? This study examines the acoustic structure of point vowels in the speech of 14 Japanese women, and compares AD citation form vowels to ID conversation form vowels. ID vowels reach more extreme acoustic targets than AD citation form vowels, and vowel triangle size increases significantly in ID speech over AD citation form speech. When vowel structure is compared across 4 languages, however, ID vowels retain their language-specific character.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Andruski, Jean E. / Kuhl, Patricia K. / Hayashi, Akiko (1999): "The acoustics of vowels in Japanese womens' speech to infants and adults", In ICPhS-14, 2177-2179.