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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003


The Same but Different - Three Impersonators Imitate the Same Target Voices

Elisabeth Zetterholm

Lund University, Sweden

To succeed with the voice imitation, the impersonator has to select the perceptually significant features of the target speaker's voice and speech behavior. Do different impersonators select the same features of a specific target speaker? To try to answer this question, a comparative study was done of phonetic features in voice imitations made by three male Swedish impersonators imitating the same target voices. Auditory and acoustic analyses were conducted of the imitators' natural voices, nine target voices and 22 voice imitations. The results indicate that the impersonators in this study have selected and try to imitate almost the same characteristic features of the target speakers. Both auditory impressions and acoustic measurements, indicate that it is possible to get close to the voice and speech of the target speaker.
   The purpose of the study was to obtain an insight into centrally important features of specifically impersonation, which may also give us a general understanding of speaker identification.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Zetterholm, Elisabeth (2003): "The same but different - three impersonators imitate the same target voices", In ICPhS-15, 2205-2208.