Examining the relationship between the interpretation of age and gender across languages.

Andrew R. Plummer, Benjmain Munson, Lucie Menard, Mary E. Beckman

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Speech signals vary substantially in a number of their key properties, with the variability deriving from, among other things, talkers' age and gender. Speech processing requires resolution of this variation, necessitating interpretation of age and gender information in the signal. In some signals, the age and gender are not clear from acoustic information alone. In these cases there may be substantial individual variation in judgments of age and gender. This study examined the interplay between the interpretation of age and gender across language communities. Corner vowel stimuli ([i], [u], [a]) generated by an age-varying articulatory synthesizer set at seven different ages (6 months, 2, 4, 5, 10, 16, and 21 years) were presented to native speakers of Cantonese, English, and Japanese. Listeners assigned an age (in years) and a gender (along a visual analog scale ranging from "definitely male" to "definitely female", or the equivalent in Japanese or Cantonese) to each stimulus. Analysis revealed a bifurcation in the interpretation of age and gender for the age 10 stimuli, which subjects rated as either a younger male or older female, suggesting a nonuniformity in the resolution of variability during speech processing. Preliminary analysis further suggests that this nonuniformity may be culture-specific.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number060080
JournalProceedings of Meetings on Acoustics
StatePublished - Jun 19 2013
Event21st International Congress on Acoustics, ICA 2013 - 165th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America - Montreal, QC, Canada
Duration: Jun 2 2013Jun 7 2013


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