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J Acoust Soc Am. 1979 Jan;65(1):208-17.

Developmental study of vowel formant frequencies in an imitation task.


Imitations of ten synthesized vowels were recorded from 33 speakers including men, women, and children. The first three formant frequencies of the imitations were estimated from spectrograms and considered with respect to developmental patterns in vowel formant structure, uniform scale factors for vowel normalization, and formant variability. Strong linear effects were observed in the group data for imitations of most of the English vowels studied, and straight lines passing through the origin provided a satisfactory fit to linear F1--F2 plots of the English vowel data. Logarithmic transformations of the formant frequencies helped substantially to equalize the dispersion of the group data for different vowels, but formant scale factors were observed to vary somewhat with both formant number and vowel identity. Variability of formant frequency was least for F1 (s.d. of 60 Hz or less for English vowels of adult males) and about equal for F2 and F3 (s.d. of 100 Hz or less for English vowels of adult males).

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