13th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Portland, OR, USA
September 9-13, 2012

Effect of Noise Type and Level on Focus Related Fundamental Frequency Changes

Martti Vainio (1), Daniel Aalto (1,2), Antti Suni (1), Anja Arnhold (1,3), Tuomo Raitio (2), Henri Seijo (2), Juhani Järvikivi (4), Paavo Alku (2)

(1) Institute of Behavioural Sciences (SigMe Group), University of Helsinki, Finland
(2) Department of Signal Processing and Acoustics, Aalto University, Finland
(3) Department of Cognitive Linguistics, Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main, Germany
(4) Language Acquisition and Language Processing Lab, NTNU, Norway

Speech in noise, or Lombard speech, is characterized by increased intensity and higher fundamental frequency as well as lengthened segmental durations as speakers try to maintain a beneficial signal-to-noise ratio to fill both communicative and self-monitoring requirements. The phenomenon has been studied with regard to different noise types and different noise levels, as well as with respect to different communicative tasks (e.g., reading out loud vs. speaking to a real listener). However, there are no studies where the effect has been measured with different noises keeping the loudness levels equal. Here we study the Lombard effect with three different noise types at three levels with equal loudness while varying focus structure to elicit different pitch contours. The results show that people adapt their intonation contours depending on both noise level and type even when the noises are similar with respect to their perceived loudness. This points to a special role for pitch in Lombard speech.

Index Terms: Lombard speech, prosody, focus marking

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Vainio, Martti / Aalto, Daniel / Suni, Antti / Arnhold, Anja / Raitio, Tuomo / Seijo, Henri / Järvikivi, Juhani / Alku, Paavo (2012): "Effect of noise type and level on focus related fundamental frequency changes", In INTERSPEECH-2012, 671-674.