Caroline B. Huang
Dept. of Elec., Comput., and Systems Eng., Boston Univ., 44 Cummington St., Boston, MA 02215
This pilot study explores an aspect of speaker individuality, the individual's vowel space, when one person speaks two languages. It is asked whether a speaker's characteristic range of vowel formant frequencies can be measured in one language and used, in conjunction with vowel data found in the literature, to model the speaker's vowel space in the other language. One practical application of the results would be to make a computer speech recognition system used as a pronunciation trainer speaker-adaptive. Vowel data are being gathered from a small set of bilingual speakers of English and Italian and English and Mandarin Chinese. Linear and nonlinear transformations for converting the F2 vs F1 plots of each of the bilinguals between the appropriate languages will be explored, in an approach similar to those of Disner [J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 67, 253--261 (1980)] and DiBenedetto [ICSLP 92, 579--582 (1990)]. The adequacy of the transformations and of the simple vowel representation employed, i.e., F1 and F2 midpoints, will be discussed.