Plotting speakers’ vowel systems in “real-time” interaction: a first approach

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    There is a long tradition in disciplines of linguistics and phonetics of visualizing
    speakers’ vowel systems through transformations of acoustic measurements of
    vowel formants (resonances) into two-dimensional x-y plots (since Joos 1948; see
    also the discussion in Watt, Fabricius and Kendall 2011). Within sociolinguistics,
    these plots have served not just as illustrations of vowel change processes, but
    have actually formed an integral part of the analytical process, as evidenced for
    example by Labov’s concept of peripherality which plays a central theoretical role
    in his typology of diachronic changes to high and mid vowels (Labov 1994).
    Recent work in visualizing vowel systems has begun to move beyond the static
    geometric x-y plot and experimented with, for example, three-dimensional
    representations (Fridland and Kendall 2009) and with showing animated
    trajectories of vowel systems in communities over decades (Fruehwald 2011).
    New computational speech-processing possibilities, including forced alignment,
    open up this area for innovative analyses and presentation methods.
    In this paper, we present a first attempt proof-of-concept for the visualization of
    individual vowels tokens, variation across a set of vowels, and the vowel space in
    real-time speech, using data from a conversational interview. While a speech
    recording is played, the F1 and F2 values of vowels are plotted on twodimensional
    vowel plots, allowing viewers to watch the unfolding of vocalic
    characteristics within a speech event over time, and enabling researchers to
    examine such speech data in new ways, both qualitatively and quantitatively. This
    type of representation has the potential to contribute new insights to our
    understanding of both intra- and inter-speaker variation in interaction, as well as
    long- and short-term speech accommodation under inter-variety linguistic contact of many kinds. In addition to its research implications, real-time vowel plotting provides a helpful visualization for phonetics and sociophonetics students to develop their understanding of the vowel space. With this preliminary work, we
    hope to encourage further advances in the visualization of vocalic production.

    collaborative work with Ms Charlotte Vaughn, Northwestern University and Dr. Tyler Kendall, University of Oregon
    Periode24 maj 2013
    Sted for afholdelseUkendt ekstern organisation, Danmark