Characterization of Singaporean Children’s English: Comparisons to American and British Counterparts Using Archetypal Analysis

Yuling Gu, Nancy F. Chen


In this work, we investigate pronunciation differences in English spoken by Singaporean children in relation to their American and British counterparts by conducting archetypal clustering and formant space analysis on selected vowel pairs. Given that Singapore adopts British English as the institutional standard due to historical reasons, one might expect Singaporean children to follow British pronunciation patterns, but interestingly we observe that Singaporean children present similar patterns to American children when it comes to TRAP–BATH split vowels and /æ/ vs. /ε/ productions: Singaporean and American speakers both exhibit more fronted characteristics (p < 0.001) for vowels in these vowel pairs, resulting in less contrast compared to British speakers. In addition, when producing these vowels, the first formant frequency estimates of Singaporean children is consistently lower, suggesting a higher tongue position, distinguishing them from American and British speakers (p < 0.05).


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2020-3166

Cite as: Gu, Y., Chen, N.F. (2020) Characterization of Singaporean Children’s English: Comparisons to American and British Counterparts Using Archetypal Analysis. Proc. Interspeech 2020, 4123-4127, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2020-3166.


@inproceedings{Gu2020,
  author={Yuling Gu and Nancy F. Chen},
  title={{Characterization of Singaporean Children’s English: Comparisons to American and British Counterparts Using Archetypal Analysis}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2020},
  pages={4123--4127},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2020-3166},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2020-3166}
}