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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

On the Expected Variability of Vowel Quality in Finnish Informal Dialogue

Mietta Lennes

University of Helsinki, Finland

Eight vowel qualities are phonologically distinct in Finnish. All of them may occur as either long or short, or they may combine into diphthongs. However, the actual variability of vowel qualities in conversational Finnish speech is unknown. One of the factors affecting this variation is probably the predictability of word forms. The influence of simple word form frequency was addressed in this preliminary study. Five informal Finnish dialogues were recorded and transliterated, and the frequencies of different word forms were obtained from the material. For four speakers, the formant values of F1 and F2 were calculated at the midpoints of vowel segments. Different F1/F2 charts were plotted for vowels according to four word form frequency categories. The results indicate that vowel segments within tokens of common word forms are phonetically more variable than vowels within tokens of rare word forms.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Lennes, Mietta (2003): "On the expected variability of vowel quality in Finnish informal dialogue", In ICPhS-15, 2985-2988.