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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003


Can we Recover Vowel Gestures from Speech Sounds? An Experimental Study Based on an Original Psychophysical Paradigm

Nathalie Vallée (1), Sonia Kandel (2)

(1) ICP-CNRS, France
(2) LPNC-CNRS, France

In the context of the Perception for Action Control Theory (Schwartz ei al., 2002), and in the furtherance of experimental studies carried out by Ladewfoged (1967) or Lisker & Rossi (1992) on the auditory or audiovisual estimation of phonetic features, we have drawn up an original paradigm using synthetic vowels in order to determine the capability of expert and naive listeners to estimate vowel gestures. We tested French listeners distributed in four groups from naive to expert phoneticians considering the level of their phonetic knowledge. For aperture, our results show that the phonetic experience significantly improves the scores, but that naive listeners perform much better than chance, despite small contrastive differences, and although certain vowels do not belong to the French phonological system. We present our first results concerning the articulation places for naives. We show that adding another interfering contrast (as rounding or front-back tongue position in the case of aperture) does not significantly decrease performance. We then suggest and discuss acoustic correlates of vowel features derived from our data.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Vallée, Nathalie / Kandel, Sonia (2003): "Can we recover vowel gestures from speech sounds? an experimental study based on an original psychophysical paradigm", In ICPhS-15, 817-820.