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LINGUIST List 21.1272

Mon Mar 15 2010

Qs: Empirical Studies of the Effective Second Formant

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        1.    Roy Becker-Kristal, Empirical Studies of the Effective Second Formant

Message 1: Empirical Studies of the Effective Second Formant
Date: 14-Mar-2010
From: Roy Becker-Kristal <roybeckerhumnet.ucla.edu>
Subject: Empirical Studies of the Effective Second Formant
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The effective second formant (F2', a perceptual correlate of F2, which,
in front vowels, is influenced by F3 and possibly by F4) has been a
known concept for decades. To my knowledge there are at least as
many modeling studies for F2' (approximation of F2' based on vowel
formant frequencies) as there are empirical studies (matching studies
where subjects adjust F2 in a 2-formant vowel to match a multi-formant
stimulus). I happen to be familiar with empirical F2' studies with
speakers of only four languages: Swedish, French, Estonian and
Latvian. I failed to find additional studies.

From these studies, it seems that language background affects F2': in
the first three languages, where /i/ contrasts with /y/, F2' for /i/ is above
F3, whereas in the latter, where there is no /y/, F2' is more
'conservative,' somewhat below F3. This implies that more empirical
cross-linguistic data on F2' are necessary in order to factor out L1-
confounds, if a valid approximation of "F2' baseline" is desirable.

Are people familiar with such studies with speakers of other
languages? References and/or papers are welcome. Of course, I will
post a summary of responses.

Roy Becker-Kristal
UCLA Linguistics

Linguistic Field(s): Phonetics

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