Speech Communication

Phonetic Reduction and Elaboration in Emotional Speech (Emo DB)


DFG project (Se 462/3-1)

Project lead: Prof. Dr. Walter F. Sendlmeier
Research associate: Felix Burkhardt, M.A.
Student assistant Benjamin Weiss


The purpose of this study is to compare phonetic realizations in which different emotional speaker states are simulated and compared with each other as well as the respective neutral versions with respect to phonetic reduction and elaboration phenomena. Temporal structures will be given particular consideration in the analysis. Speech recordings of actors serve as the data basis. Each actor records context-variable sentences from everyday communication simulating a neutral expression as well as the basic emotions boredom, sadness, anger, fear, and joy. Label files are created for the utterances using a computer program based both on oscillogram and sonogram plots as well as the fundamental frequency and amplitude responses, documenting the segmentation and categorization of the speech material. The aim is to work out emotion-specific feature expressions on the basis of phonetic analyses of the following phenomena: segment epenthesis and segment elision, duration change of vowels and consonants, temporal extension of sentences, accent structure, isochrony, sonorization, progressive assimilation of voicelessness, and position of formants. The identified reduction and elaboration phenomena will be classified into phonetics of German with reference to the generation mechanism and the resulting acoustic correlates. Additionally, their perceptual relevance will be tested using a synthesis procedure.