Effects of phoneme class and duration on the acceptability of temporal modifications in speech

Hiroaki Kato*, Minoru Tsuzaki, Yoshinori Sagisaka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Human subjective acceptability of durational distortions in speech segments or portions is significantly affected by various segmental and sequential properties, e.g., the vowel color and temporal position in a word [Kato et al., J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 101, 2311-2322 (1997); 104, 540-549 (1998)]. The current study focused on the effects of phoneme class and original duration of speech portions in isolated words. In experiment 1, the effect of four classes of phoneme, i.e., vowel, nasal, voiceless fricative, and silent closure, on the acceptable modification range was tested. Six listeners evaluated the temporal acceptability of each of 49 words where one of the steady-state portions was subjected to durational modification from -75 ms (for shortening) to +75 ms (for lengthening) in 7.5-ms steps. The results showed that the listeners' acceptable modification ranges were narrowest for vowels, and widest for voiceless fricatives and silent closures, with nasals in between. The mean acceptable ranges for the least vulnerable phoneme class, i.e., voiceless fricative and silent closure, reached 143% or more of that for the most vulnerable class, i.e., vowel. The observed variation in the acceptable modification range due to the different phoneme class was highly correlated with the inherent loudness in each phoneme class. A larger inherent loudness yielded a narrower acceptable range. Experiment 2 tested the effect of the original, as produced, duration of steady-state speech portions using 30 words where the factors of phoneme class and original duration were designed in a factorial way. The results showed that the original durations affected the listeners' absolute acceptable ranges; the ranges were narrower for shorter original durations. There was a significant interaction between the factors of phoneme class and original duration. The effect of the original duration was larger for vowels than for fricatives. This interaction could be accounted for by the difference in the temporal structure spanning beyond the modified portion itself.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-400
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number1 I
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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