LINGUIST List 13.592

Mon Mar 4 2002

Qs: Vowel Normalisation Procedures

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  1. Dom Watt, Vowel normalisation procedures

Message 1: Vowel normalisation procedures

Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2002 17:25:52 +0000
From: Dom Watt <>
Subject: Vowel normalisation procedures

There is a bewildering choice of vowel formant normalisation
algorithms available which aim to eliminate, among other things, vocal
tract length-related effects between speakers that result from age and
gender differences. Some are based on warpings of F1/F2 space using
frequencies of higher formants, relationships between formants and F0,
or on logarithmic transforms of values in linear Hz. Others (Barks,
mels, critical bandwidths, etc.) use psychoperceptual criteria
deriving from the non-linear response characteristics of the auditory

What, in the opinion of anyone who's had to choose one (or has
developed one themselves), would be the criterion/criteria by which
the successfulness, utility and reliability of a normalisation routine
for formant frequency measurements could be estimated? Do Disner's
(1980) conclusions about the value of a procedure lying in the degree
to which it can trade off scatter reduction against 'linguistic
realism' still hold?

I'll post a summary of responses.
Dom Watt.

Disner, S.F. (1980) Evaluation of vowel normalization procedures. Journal of
the Acoustical Society of America 67(1): 253-261.

Dominic Watt
Department of Language & Linguistic Science
University of York
York YO10 5DD
Tel 01904 432665
Fax 01904 432673
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