Acoustic and Articulatory Aspects of Sex in German (2011-2014)

Adrian P. Simpson
Coworkers: Melanie Weirich

Studies over the last 50 years have repeatedly shown there to be a number of acoustic and temporal differences between female and male voices that can’t merely be explained by anatomical differences such as vocal tract size or vocal fold length. While we know that many differences have a social component, i.e. they are learned behaviours, it is still unclear which aspects may have a biophysical origin. Non-uniform differences between male and female acoustic vowel spaces, as well as systematic differences in male and female sound durations are just two such areas. Using a series of articulatory and acoustic analyses together with listening experiments, this project is attempting to tease apart some of the socially acquired patterns from the biologically inevitable.

  • Weirich, M., & Simpson, A. P. (2013). Investigating the relationship between average speaker fundamental frequency and acoustic vowel space size. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 134(4), 2965-2974.
  • Weirich, M., & Simpson, A. P. (2014). Differences in acoustic vowel space and the perception of speech tempo. Journal of Phonetics, 43, 1-10.
  • Weirich, M., & Simpson, A. P. (in press). Impact and interaction of accent realization and speaker’s sex on vowel length in German. In: A. Leemann, M.-J. Kolly, S. Schmid & V. Dellwo (Eds.), Trends in Phonetics and Phonology in German speaking Europe. Frankfurt, Deutschland: Peter Lang Verlagsgruppe.