Phonetics Lab

The phonetics lab is the center of research on the perception and production of speech sounds at the University of Calgary. It houses a wide variety of technologies for the production of high quality audio and video, running experiments, and acoustic data.

Language Consultant
A Language Consultant in the Lab

Projects

The two projects below are part of a larger research program investigating the empirical evidence for–and theoretical implications of–exemplar-based models of speech perception. They were supported in large part by a URGC starter grant from the University of Calgary.

  1. The identification and retention of L2 contrasts in long-term memory
  2. The role of voice quality in voice identification and word recognition

Student Projects:

  • Acoustic cues in the identification of phonation type contrasts

Ph.D. student Sue Jackson is currently investigating the acoustic cues to the four-way phonation type contrast found in Hindi, and the importance that different acoustic cues might play in the identification of these phonation types by both native and non-native listeners.

  • Learning to identify tones in a foreign language: do you really need to hear the words?

In this ongoing study, Honors student Alison Harding is testing the ability of English listeners to learn how to identify Thai words when they are presented only as sinewave F0 contours, as opposed to naturally produced items, containing both segmental and suprasegmental phonetic information.

Collaborations:

  • The intonation of infant-directed speech and its role in syntactic disambiguation.

This is an ongoing project being conducted in conjunction with Suzanne Curtin, of University of Calgary’s Speech Development Lab. So far in this study, we have investigated whether or not syntactically ambiguous phrases are clearer in infant-directed speech (they are), and how easy it is for listeners to distinguish between infant-directed and adult-directed speech (they’re accurate about 80% of the time).

  • L2 intonation and the perception of foreign accent

This project was conducted with Mary O’Brien, professor of German and head of the Language Research Centre at the University of Calgary. We spliced F0 contours across German and English sentences–produced by L1 and L2 speakers of both languages–to determine how much intonation affected the intelligibility and perceived “accentedness” of these utterances. We found a complex set of interactions between intonation and the native language of both the speakers and listeners in this experiment.

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