ASA 129th Meeting - Washington, DC - 1995 May 30 .. Jun 06

1aSC5. Speaker normalization for tone.

Corinne B. Moore

Dept. of Mod. Lang. and Lit., 203 Morrill Hall, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY 14853

Segments with identical acoustic characteristics may not be perceived identically, because listeners normalize for acoustic variability due to vocal tract differences among speakers. While normalization studies have been done for vowel perception, the present experiment uses Mandarin Chinese to investigate speaker normalization for lexical tones. In this study, two speakers were identified for whom the low tone (tone 3) of the high- pitched speaker occurred in the same F0 region as the midrising tone (tone 2) of the low-pitched speaker. Synthetic syllables formed three continua used in a series of perception tests. The three continua varied along either F0, timing of the turning point, or both acoustic dimensions. Stimuli were placed after a natural precursor from each of the two speakers. Test items were randomized and presented in a mixed block condition. Results show that category boundaries shift contrastively in the direction predicted; that is, the same stimuli were perceived differently in the two precursor conditions, although only for stimuli varying along the F0 and both F0 and turning point dimension, but not for stimuli varying along the duration dimension (turning point) alone. Further testing is currently being conducted on normalization in the duration dimension. [Work supported by Sigma Xi.]