Acoustic Measurements of Men’s and Women’s Voices A Study of Context Effects and Covariation Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 1990
Acoustic Measurements of Men’s and Women’s Voices
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Susan Nittrouer
    Boys Town National Institute, Omaha, NE
  • Richard S. McGowan
    Haskins Laboratories, New Haven, CT
  • Paul H. Milenkovic
    University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
  • Donna Beehler
    Boys Town National Institute, Omaha, NE
  • Requests for reprints should be sent to Susan Nittrouer, Ph.D., Haskins Laboratories, 270 Crown Street, New Haven, CT 06511.
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 1990
Acoustic Measurements of Men’s and Women’s Voices
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1990, Vol. 33, 761-775. doi:10.1044/jshr.3304.761
History: Received December 18, 1989 , Accepted June 4, 1990
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1990, Vol. 33, 761-775. doi:10.1044/jshr.3304.761
History: Received December 18, 1989; Accepted June 4, 1990

Several acoustic measures of laryngeal activity were made on adult speech to help answer two questions left unresolved by previous work: (1) how each measure varies, if at all, with phonetic structure, and (2) what aspect of laryngeal activity each measure specifies. Speech samples of 15 syllables (three vowels in five prevocalic consonantal contexts) were collected from men and women at two times of the day (early morning and late afternoon). Eight measurements were made, mainly on slices extracted from the middle of the vocalic portions, and inferential and correlational statistics were applied to these measures. Results of the inferential tests indicated differences between men and women in how laryngeal adjustments are made, affecting relative amounts of vocal jitter and spectral tilt of the voicing source. In addition, the voicing and manner characteristics of the prevocalic consonant were found to affect fundamental frequency, cycle-to-cycle perturbations, and amount of aspiration noise. To a lesser extent, vowel height and front/back tongue placement also affected these acoustic source characteristics. Results of the correlational tests showed that different laryngeal mechanisms contributed differentially to signal-to-noise ratios for men and women, and these mechanisms were more greatly affected by fundamental frequency for men’s samples. Finally, various acoustic measures of laryngeal noise were found to be related to the same underlying mechanism.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This work was supported by NIH Grant DC-00633 to the first author. We are grateful to Steven M. Barlow, Yoshiyuki Horii, Stephen T. Neely, and an anonymous reviewer for their comments on earlier drafts of this article.
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