Between-speaker variability in Persian based on acoustic correlates of speech rhythm

Responsible: Homa Asadi
Duration of the project: Sept. 2018- Feb. 2020

Project Description:

In the present project, we study how suprasegmental temporal features can contribute to speaker-individuality in Persian. Temporal characteristics of speech is a newly developed method applied in forensic phonetics. The rationale behind this idea is that humans differ in terms of the anatomical dimensions of the articulators, which result in idiosyncratic temporal characteristic articulation, namely speaker-specific rhythm. This relationship, however, is very complex as numerous acquired and language-specific characteristics also influence the temporal structure of speech. To date, there has only been research in languages like English and German whose speakers might vary considerably in the way they operate the articulators to produce complex phonotactics and vowel reductions. Vowel reduction and complex consonant clusters are missing in Persian. Therefore, it is conceivable that language-specific features of Persian influence on temporal characteristic of speech. This study therefore sets out to explore between-speaker rhythmic variability as well as within-speaker rhythmic variability across Persian speakers to see to what degree such temporal characteristics vary among Persian speakers. Certainly a comprehensive understanding of speaker-specific temporal characteristics can only be obtained via a contrastive analysis of such characteristics in numerous different languages with widely different phonological systems.

Publications (or conference presentation):

  1. Asadi, Homa., He, Lei., Pellegrino, Elisa., Dellwo, Volker. (2017). “Between-speaker rhythmic variability in Persian”. The 26th Annual Conference of the International Association for Forensic Phonetics and Acoustics (IAFPA). Split, Croatia.
  2. Asadi, Homa., Nourbakhsh, Mandana., Pellegrino, Elisa., He, Lei., Dellwo, Volker. (2018). “Between-speaker rhythmic variability is not dependent on language rhythm, as evidence from Persian reveals”. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law. Vol 25, No. 2, page 151-174.

Keywords: Speaker idiosyncrasies, Speech rhythm, Forensic phonetics

Funding source(s): University of Zurich, Stiftung Mercator Schweiz

Partners (if applicable): Volker Dellwo