Formant lowering in spontaneous crying speech.
ABSTRACT Acoustic and articulatory recordings were made at the EMA facilities of NTT Research Laboratories, Atsugi, Japan, for an American English speaker producing (a) spontaneous crying speech and (b) imitation of phrasing of the original crying speech, as control data. Articulatory analysis indicates differences in jaw, lip, and tongue positions for crying speech versus control speech. Acoustic analysis also shows that for crying speech compared with control speech, not only F0 increases but also higher formants tend to be lowered. Results of perception tests using the copy-synthesis program STRAIGHT (Kawahara) to morph a continuum of stimuli, keeping F0, duration, and intensity constant, suggest listeners to use cues of lowered formants to perceive emotional intensity of an utterance. Recent biophysiological modeling studies suggest that lowered formants may be due to a lowered larynx along with an expanded hypopharyngeal region [e.g., D. Honda, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. (1966); Kitamura et al., Acoust. Sci. Tech. (2004)]. This hypothesis as it applies to crying speech is currently being explored. [This work was supported in part by Japanese Ministry of Education, Science, Sport, and Culture, Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C), (2007-2010): 19520371 and SCOPE (071705001) of Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), Japan.].