Third International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (ICSLP 94)

Yokohama, Japan
September 18-22, 1994

The Punch and Judy Man: A Study of Phonological / Phonetic Variation

Gavin J. Dempster, Sheila M. Williams, Sandra P. Whiteside

Centre for Language Engineering, Department of Computer Science and Speech Science Unit, University of Sheffield, UK

This paper describes an approach to the analysis of speaker variation through a contrastive study of the voices of characters in a puppet show, produced by a single speaker. A recording of an impromptu performance of an unscripted Punch and Judy show is analysed to compare variability within and between the three principle characters. Here we investigate some of the phonological and acoustic-phonetic factors that lead to perceptual discrimination between the character voices. The effects of context, including phonological boundaries, are considered in investigating variations in pronunciation of common words and phrases found within in each character. Acoustic correlates of some of these variants are also discussed. The distribution of phonemic realizations of word-final underlying N segments in a set of common words is found to vary substantially between two of the characters. Differences in the acoustic realizations of the same vowel from each of the two characters supports earlier evidence that voice quality is also a distinguishing factor. In addition, some evidence is presented that the need to emphasise such distinctions may influence lexical choice.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Dempster, Gavin J. / Williams, Sheila M. / Whiteside, Sandra P. (1994): "The punch and judy man: a study of phonological / phonetic variation", In ICSLP-1994, 1167-1170.