Speaker-specific formant dynamics: an experiment on Australian English /aɪ/

Kirsty McDougall

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    45 Citations (Scopus)


    Formant frequency dynamics are relevant to forensic speaker identification since they are determined by the shape and size of a speaker’s vocal tract and the way he or she configures the articulators for speech. This study investigates individual|differences in the formant dynamics of /aI/ produced by five male Australian English speakers, and the effects of changes in speaking rate and prosodic stress on these differences. F1, F2 and F3 frequencies are examined at equidistant time-normalized intervals through /aI/. At each measurement point a degree of speaker individuality is present, and speaker differentiation improves as increasing numbers of measurement points are considered in combination. Patterns of speaker-specific behaviour are generally consistent across different rate-stress conditions. Discriminant analyses based on predictors from all three formants yield classification rates of 88–95%, with nuclear-stressed /aI/ performing best. The findings suggest that further research to develop techniques for characterizing individual speakers using formant dynamics is warranted.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)103-130
    Number of pages27
    JournalInternational Journal of Speech, Language and the Law
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


    • speaker identity
    • dormant frequency dynamics
    • diphthongs
    • speaking rate
    • prosodic stress


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