Location of phonemic boundaries (Richard Warren )

Subject: Location of phonemic boundaries
From:    Richard Warren  <rmwarren@xxxxxxxx>
Date:    Tue, 12 Aug 2008 11:42:02 -0500

Dear List, Jim Miller pointed out on 8 August that “It is well established that the acoustic information used by a listener to identify a consonant or a vowel is overlapping and distributed acoustically across a considerable span of time.” He indicated that although some have attempted to identify the acoustic locations of consonants and vowels in running speech, they have for the most part failed since coarticulation extends well into adjacent phonemes. But if the question is changed from “acoustic” boundaries to “perceptual” boundaries, the task becomes rather easy. When a sentence is abruptly terminated, the last speech sound is easily perceived. By using an arbitrary starting point before the beginning of a recorded sentence, and moving the time of the cutoff through the sentence, it is easy to map the perceptual beginning and end of each phoneme within a few milliseconds. We have been using this procedure for several decades.

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DAn Ellis <dpwe@ee.columbia.edu>
Electrical Engineering Dept., Columbia University