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A comparison of four vowel overlap measures

A comparison of four vowel overlap measures

Multiple measures of vowel overlap have been proposed that use F1, F2, and duration to calculate the degree of overlap between vowel categories. The present study assesses four of these measures: the spectral overlap assessment metric [SOAM; Wassink (2006). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 119(4), 2334–2350], the a posteriori probability (APP)-based metric [Morrison (2008). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 123(1), 37–40], the vowel overlap analysis with convex hulls method [VOACH; Haynes and Taylor, (2014). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 136(2), 883–891], and the Pillai score as first used for vowel overlap by Hay, Warren, and Drager [(2006). J. Phonetics 34(4), 458–484]. Summaries of the measures are presented, and theoretical critiques of them are performed, concluding that the APP-based metric and Pillai score are theoretically preferable to SOAM and VOACH. The measures are empirically assessed using accuracy and precision criteria with Monte Carlo simulations. The Pillai score demonstrates the best overall performance in these tests. The potential applications of vowel overlap measures to research scenarios are discussed, including comparisons of vowel productions between different social groups, as well as acoustic investigations into vowel formant trajectories.

Listening Experiment

Thank you for your interest in our experiment!

Purpose: to investigate language comprehension in Canadian English speakers

Eligible participants are:

  • Monolingual Canadian English speakers (knowledge of different languages is ok as long as English was the language spoken at home while growing up)
  • 30 years old and above

Participation includes:

  • Basic hearing test
  • Listening to words and nonwords, pressing a button to indicate “word” or “nonword”, typing words
  • 1 hour participation; $10 Compensation
  • Can participate for a maximum of  2 times on separate days
  • If you are interested in participating but believe you have previously participated, please contact us and we will double check for you

Locations (click on links for directions)

4-02 Assiniboia Hall, North Campus, University of Alberta (a parking space can be made available)

Enterprise Square 3-501 (Jasper Ave and 102 St)

 Sign Up Options:

  1. Call us at 780-248-1409
  2. Email us at