Studying Vowel Variation in French-Algerian Arabic Code-switched Speech

Jane Wottawa, Amazouz Djegdjiga, Martine Adda-Decker, Lori Lamel

Algerian Arabic-French bilinguals show phonetic variation with respect to vowel timber in both their languages. Our study aims to identify vowel variants frequently produced by Algerian Arabic-French bilinguals. To that end, the speech corpus FACST, containing French and Algerian Arabic code-switched speech, was analyzed. A second corpus with native French speakers (NCCFr) was used to provide a reference baseline and to compare vowel variants across the two speaker groups. Three experiments were carried out: first, the French speech of both corpora was aligned with a French acoustic model including parallel vowel variants in its pronunciation dictionary. Second, the Arabic speech was aligned using using the same acoustic model as in the first experiment including parallel vowel variants in its dictionary. Finally, we tested whether peripheral vowels in Algerian Arabic-French bilinguals are more often centralized than in French native speech by allowing schwa as a competing variant. The results show that, French natives and Algerian Arabic-French bilinguals have globally a comparable amount of vowel variation in French. However, French natives have stable high vowels whereas bilinguals tend to produce stable low and back vowels. In the centralization experiment, Algerian bilinguals particularly favor the centralization of mid, open and back vowels.

 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2018-2381

Cite as: Wottawa, J., Djegdjiga, A., Adda-Decker, M., Lamel, L. (2018) Studying Vowel Variation in French-Algerian Arabic Code-switched Speech. Proc. Interspeech 2018, 2753-2757, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2018-2381.

  author={Jane Wottawa and Amazouz Djegdjiga and Martine Adda-Decker and Lori Lamel},
  title={Studying Vowel Variation in French-Algerian Arabic Code-switched Speech},
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2018},