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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Manipulation of Foreign-Accented Speech: Improving English-Accented French

Colleen C. Martin

Laboratoire de Phonétique et Phonologie-CNRS, France

This paper examines the effect of manipulation on a natural voice in the segmental and prosodic domains. Sentences and CV syllables produced respectively by two different American English speakers were modified to match homologous French productions by a single native French speaker. The fundamental frequency (F0) patterns of the sentences were adjusted to match the French model, and the vowels and voiceless plosive consonants of the CV syllables were adjusted to reduce diphthongs and consequently length, or to eliminate consonant aspiration. The results of a perception test by native French speakers showed that the modifications of the F0 pattern over the entire sentence and the modifications of vowels for diphthongal quality and duration significantly remedied the foreign accent of the non-native French productions. On the other hand, consonant aspiration modification showed no significant improvement. Manipulated stimuli were preferred overall which shows that manipulation can improve foreign-accented speech.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Martin, Colleen C. (2003): "Manipulation of foreign-accented speech: improving English-accented French", In ICPhS-15, 957-960.