Toward “English” phonetics: variability in the pre-consonantal voicing effect across English dialects and speakers

Tanner, J., Sonderegger, M., Stuart-Smith, J. and Fruehwald, J. (2020) Toward “English” phonetics: variability in the pre-consonantal voicing effect across English dialects and speakers. Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence, 3, 38. (doi: 10.3389/frai.2020.00038)

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Recent advances in access to spoken-language corpora and development of speech processing tools have made possible the performance of “large-scale” phonetic and sociolinguistic research. This study illustrates the usefulness of such a large-scale approach—using data from multiple corpora across a range of English dialects, collected, and analyzed with the SPADE project—to examine how the pre-consonantal Voicing Effect (longer vowels before voiced thanvoiceless obstruents, in e.g., bead vs. beat) is realized in spontaneous speech, and varies across dialects and individual speakers. Compared with previous reports of controlled laboratory speech, the Voicing Effect was found to be substantially smaller in spontaneous speech, but still influenced by the expected range of phonetic factors. Dialects of English differed substantially from each other in the size of the Voicing Effect, whilst individual speakers varied little relative to their particular dialect. This study demonstrates the value of large-scale phonetic research as a means of developing our understanding of the structure of speech variability, and illustrates how large-scale studies, such as those carried out within SPADE, can be applied to other questions in phonetic and sociolinguistic research.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Stuart-Smith, Professor Jane and Sonderegger, Professor Morgan and Tanner, Mr James
Authors: Tanner, J., Sonderegger, M., Stuart-Smith, J., and Fruehwald, J.
Subjects:P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PD Germanic languages
P Language and Literature > PE English
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Journal Name:Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence
Publisher:Frontiers Media
ISSN (Online):2624-8212
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 Tanner, Sonderegger, Stuart-Smith and Fruehwald
First Published:First published in Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence 3: 38
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
300161SPeech Across Dialects of English (SPADE): large-scale digital analysis of a spoken language across space and timeJane Stuart-SmithEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/R003963/1Arts - English Language and Linguistics