5th European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology

Rhodes, Greece
September 22-25, 1997

Modeling the Acoustic Differences Between L1 and L2 Speech: The Short Vowels of Africaans and South-African English

Elizabeth C. Botha (1), Louis C. W. Pols (2)

(1) Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, University of Pretoria, South Africa
(2) Institute of Phonetic Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The acoustic differences between Afrikaans and South African English, spoken as first (L1) and second (L2) language, are measured for nine short vowels. The spoken language data base of 22 male speakers, collected for comparative studies, is described. The features used in an initial comparison of the isolated vowels and vowels in CVC words are the first three formant values and ratios. Significant differences are found between the production of /e/ and /y/ by Afrikaans and English mother-tongue speakers, and to a lesser extent between /i/, /c/ and /u/. Several interesting trends that seem to contradict popular beliefs concerning South African accents are observed. Directions for future research and the application of the envisioned L1-L2 model in speech technology are given.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Botha, Elizabeth C. / Pols, Louis C. W. (1997): "Modeling the acoustic differences between L1 and L2 speech: the short vowels of africaans and south-african English", In EUROSPEECH-1997, 1035-1038.