13th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Portland, OR, USA
September 9-13, 2012

Correlation Between Vocal Tract Length, Body Height, Formant Frequencies, and Pitch Frequency for the Five Japanese Vowels Uttered by Fifteen Male Speakers

Hiroaki Hatano (1), Tatsuya Kitamura (1), Hironori Takemoto (2), Parham Mokhtari (2), Kiyoshi Honda (3), Shinobu Masaki (4)

(1) Faculty of Intelligence and Informatics, Konan University, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
(2) Universal Communication Research Institute, NICT, Keihanna Science City, Kyoto, Japan
(3) University of Paris III, Paris, France
(4) ATR/ATR-Promotions, Keihanna Science City, Kyoto, Japan

We conducted quantitative analyses of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) database to examine the correlation between physical measures (vocal tract length and body height) and acoustic parameters (pitch and formant frequencies) of vowels. The vocal tract length was measured from MRI data for the five Japanese vowels produced by fifteen male Japanese speakers between the ages of 24 and 55. The voice features were computed from vowel sounds recorded during scan. The vocal tract length showed a weak positive correlation with the speakers' age (correlation coefficient r = 0.51) but not with the speaker body height (r = 0.08). There was only weaker correlations between the vocal tract length and the first four formant frequencies except that F1 and F2 of the vowel /e/ show negative correlations with the vocal tract length (F1: r = -0.65, F2: r = -0.56). The result suggests that the vocal tract length is one of the dominant factors causing individual differences in the formant frequencies for the vowel /e/, produced by not forming a strong constriction. Furthermore, the pitch frequency was negatively correlated with the body height (r = -0.61).

Index Terms: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), vocal tract length, body height, formant frequencies, pitch frequency

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Hatano, Hiroaki / Kitamura, Tatsuya / Takemoto, Hironori / Mokhtari, Parham / Honda, Kiyoshi / Masaki, Shinobu (2012): "Correlation between vocal tract length, body height, formant frequencies, and pitch frequency for the five Japanese vowels uttered by fifteen male speakers", In INTERSPEECH-2012, 402-405.