Saving energy vs making yourself understood during speech production

Project Leader:

Funding Agency: Royal Society of New Zealand - Marsden Fund

  • $345,000NZD
  • March 2013 - February 2016

Speakers sometimes move their tongues in completely different directions for different repetitions of exactly the same phrase. The cause of this variability is examined by comparing speech energy efficiency vs. producing clear speech. The first experiment records audio and tongue motion of New Zealand English (NZE) speakers induced to speak at progressively faster speeds, and the second uses the audio recordings to test whether easier to produce sequences are harder to understand. This is the first articulatory phonetics study of New Zealand English, and will radically change speech research by expanding on speech ecology, leading to better speech recognition systems.