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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003


Towards an Auditory Reference System for Primary Vowel Types: Interviewing Experts at ICPhS'99

Doris Mücke

University of Cologne, Germany

The power of traditional vowel classification is known to be moderate, leading especially in phonetic transcription to ambiguous classifications. A common auditory reference system - shared by all transcribers - might improve inter- and intra-speaker agreements. In order to suggest a first auditory subsystem, a series of auditory experiments was carried out with 35 of the world's leading phoneticians. They were asked to define their auditory concepts of primary vowel types by adjusting a vowel synthesiser. Mean values and standard deviations for the F1/F2-combinations are presented for three expert groups differing in their present IPA-usage. The criterion of auditory equidistance is examined statistically. Bias-effects due to listeners' transcription traditions and mother tongues are discussed and the assumption of a continuous perception mode for vowels is challenged.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Mücke, Doris (2003): "Towards an auditory reference system for primary vowel types: interviewing experts at ICPhs'99", In ICPhS-15, 997-1000.