Sex-specific fundamental and formant frequency patterns in a cross-sectional study

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Whiteside, S.P. (2001)
  • Publisher: Acoustical Society of America
  • Subject:
    mesheuropmc: behavioral disciplines and activities | psychological phenomena and processes

An extensive developmental acoustic study of the speech patterns of children and adults was reported by Lee and colleagues [Lee et al., J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 105, 1455-1468 (1999)]. This paper presents a reexamination of selected fundamental frequency and formant frequency data presented in their report for 10 monophthongs by investigating sex-specific and developmental patterns using two different approaches. The first of these includes the investigation of age- and sex-specific formant frequency patterns in the monophthongs. The second, the investigation of fundamental frequency and formant frequency data using the critical band rate (bark) scale and a number of acoustic-phonetic dimensions of the monophthongs from an age- and sex-specific perspective. These acoustic-phonetic dimensions include: vowel spaces and distances from speaker centroids; frequency differences between the formant frequencies of males and females; vowel openness/closeness and frontness/backness; the degree of vocal effort; and formant frequency ranges. Both approaches reveal both age- and sex-specific development patterns which also appear to be dependent on whether vowels are peripheral or non-peripheral. The developmental emergence of these sex-specific differences are discussed with reference to anatomical, physiological, sociophonetic and culturally determined factors. Some directions for further investigation into the age-linked sex differences in speech across the lifespan are also proposed.
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