15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Is Voice Quality Language-Dependent? Acoustic Analyses Based on Speakers of Three Different Languages

Anita Wagner (1), Angelika Braun (2)

(1) Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, The Netherlands
(2) University of Marburg, Germany

This paper addresses the relation between voice quality features and language, or, more precisely, stereotypes concerning voice existing in different speech communities. Results are presented of a study analyzing the acoustic parameters F0, F0 modulation, HNR, jitter and shimmer for male voices of native speakers of German, Italian and Polish. Speakers of these languages have the reputation of sounding either more "rough" (Italian) or more "clear" (Polish) than the other groups. The parameters examined in the presented study correlate with the psycho-acoustic impression of "roughness" in voice. Significant differences between the language groups have been found showing that different parameters predominate in voices of speakers of different languages. In the absence of more "superficial" explanations for these findings like voice pathologies, smoking/drinking habits, etc. we conclude that the differences found are caused by cultural stereotypes in the languages involved.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Wagner, Anita / Braun, Angelika (2003): "Is voice quality language-dependent? acoustic analyses based on speakers of three different languages", In ICPhS-15, 651-654.