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Voice Imitation : A Phonetic Study of Perceptual Illusions and Acoustic Success

Zetterholm, Elisabeth LU (2003) In Travaux de l'Institut de Linguistique de Lund 44.
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

I denna avhandling presenteras olika studier om röstimitation. Det unika i den individuella rösten och om det är möjligt att förändra sin röst så att man blir till förväxling lik någon annan vad gäller rösten och talet diskuteras. Syftet med studierna var i första hand att ta reda på hur och i vilken omfattning en imitatör förändrar sin egen röst och sitt tal för att bli lik originalrösten. Auditiva och akustiska analyser samt perceptionstest har gjorts av olika röstimitationer inspelade av tre olika imitatörer.



Fyra huvudfrågor tas upp i fyra olika studier: En imitatör och ett antal av hans imitationer har studerats för att få en uppfattning om den mänskliga röstens... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

I denna avhandling presenteras olika studier om röstimitation. Det unika i den individuella rösten och om det är möjligt att förändra sin röst så att man blir till förväxling lik någon annan vad gäller rösten och talet diskuteras. Syftet med studierna var i första hand att ta reda på hur och i vilken omfattning en imitatör förändrar sin egen röst och sitt tal för att bli lik originalrösten. Auditiva och akustiska analyser samt perceptionstest har gjorts av olika röstimitationer inspelade av tre olika imitatörer.



Fyra huvudfrågor tas upp i fyra olika studier: En imitatör och ett antal av hans imitationer har studerats för att få en uppfattning om den mänskliga röstens flexibilitet. En annan imitatör och en av hans imitationer har studerats i den andra studien. Syftet var att ta reda på hur och i vilken omfattning imitatören förändrar sin egen röst och sitt tal och hur lik originalrösten imitationen är. Den tredje studien tar upp frågan om tre olika imitatörer härmar samma egenskaper när de imiterar samma röster. Semantikens betydelse för lyssnarens bedömning av röstimitationen studeras och diskuteras i den fjärde studien.



För att lyckas med sin röstimitation måste imitatören identifiera och imitera de mest karaktäristiska dragen hos originalpersonen. En del utmärkande karaktärsdrag hos originalpersonen blir överdrivna i imitationen för att imitatören vill förstärka intrycket av den person som imiteras. Om dessa utmärkande särdrag finns med i röstimitationen är det möjligt att imitationen uppfattas som lyckad även om imitatören misslyckas att imitera andra mindre utmärkande särdrag. Olika aspekter av den individuella rösten har studerats, såsom taltonläge, röstkvalitet, dialekt, prosodi och talstil. Ofta använder imitatören ord, fraser och uttryck som är relaterade till originalpersonen. Betydelsen av detta har också diskuterats. (Less)
Abstract
This thesis is about voice imitations, more specifically impersonation. Questions are raised about the uniqueness of a person’s voice and speech behaviour and if it is possible to get close to another speaker’s voice and speech. Four main research questions are investigated in different studies. The studies focus mainly on how close the imitation is to the target speaker, and addresses to a lesser degree questions relating to which features are hard to change in a speaker’s voice and speech behaviour. Auditory and acoustic analyses as well as perception tests have been conducted.



First, one impersonator and a number of his different voice imitations are investigated in order to get an idea about human voice flexibility.... (More)
This thesis is about voice imitations, more specifically impersonation. Questions are raised about the uniqueness of a person’s voice and speech behaviour and if it is possible to get close to another speaker’s voice and speech. Four main research questions are investigated in different studies. The studies focus mainly on how close the imitation is to the target speaker, and addresses to a lesser degree questions relating to which features are hard to change in a speaker’s voice and speech behaviour. Auditory and acoustic analyses as well as perception tests have been conducted.



First, one impersonator and a number of his different voice imitations are investigated in order to get an idea about human voice flexibility. Secondly, another impersonator and one of his target voices are investigated in order to focus on how, and to what extent, the impersonator change his own voice and speech behaviour in order to get close to someone else’s voice and speech. In the third study, imitations made by three different impersonators are investigated in order to get an idea about if they select and try to imitate the same features when imitating the same target voices. Finally, the impact of semantic information on the listener’s acceptance of a voice imitation is tested in voice line-up studies.



To succeed, the impersonator has to identify and imitate characteristic features of the target speaker and as a starting point he may think of the target speaker in terms of a caricature and some features will be exaggerated. He may be successful on the whole even if he fails in imitating some features, provided he is successful in imitating other more critical features. The different aspects of the individual voice and speech, pointed out in these studies, are pitch register, voice quality, dialect, prosody and speech style. The impersonator often uses words and phrases related to the target speaker to strengthen the impression of the imitation. The balance between the importance of voice similarity and that of semantic expectation for a successful imitation is discussed. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
opponent
  • Docent McAllister, Robert, Stockholm University
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
impersonation, Voice and speech imitation, target voice, individual voice, pitch register, voice quality, prosody, semantic information, phonology, dialect, articulatory timing, speech style, Phonetics, Fonetik, fonologi
in
Travaux de l'Institut de Linguistique de Lund
volume
44
pages
160 pages
defense location
Edens hörsal, Paradisg 5, Lund University
defense date
2003-05-10 10:15
ISSN
0347-2558
ISBN
91-628-5653-7
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
21cac2ed-2f79-4266-92e0-80b6d359e6cb (old id 27791)
date added to LUP
2007-06-07 11:35:21
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:00
@phdthesis{21cac2ed-2f79-4266-92e0-80b6d359e6cb,
  abstract     = {This thesis is about voice imitations, more specifically impersonation. Questions are raised about the uniqueness of a person’s voice and speech behaviour and if it is possible to get close to another speaker’s voice and speech. Four main research questions are investigated in different studies. The studies focus mainly on how close the imitation is to the target speaker, and addresses to a lesser degree questions relating to which features are hard to change in a speaker’s voice and speech behaviour. Auditory and acoustic analyses as well as perception tests have been conducted.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
First, one impersonator and a number of his different voice imitations are investigated in order to get an idea about human voice flexibility. Secondly, another impersonator and one of his target voices are investigated in order to focus on how, and to what extent, the impersonator change his own voice and speech behaviour in order to get close to someone else’s voice and speech. In the third study, imitations made by three different impersonators are investigated in order to get an idea about if they select and try to imitate the same features when imitating the same target voices. Finally, the impact of semantic information on the listener’s acceptance of a voice imitation is tested in voice line-up studies.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
To succeed, the impersonator has to identify and imitate characteristic features of the target speaker and as a starting point he may think of the target speaker in terms of a caricature and some features will be exaggerated. He may be successful on the whole even if he fails in imitating some features, provided he is successful in imitating other more critical features. The different aspects of the individual voice and speech, pointed out in these studies, are pitch register, voice quality, dialect, prosody and speech style. The impersonator often uses words and phrases related to the target speaker to strengthen the impression of the imitation. The balance between the importance of voice similarity and that of semantic expectation for a successful imitation is discussed.},
  author       = {Zetterholm, Elisabeth},
  isbn         = {91-628-5653-7},
  issn         = {0347-2558},
  keyword      = {impersonation,Voice and speech imitation,target voice,individual voice,pitch register,voice quality,prosody,semantic information,phonology,dialect,articulatory timing,speech style,Phonetics,Fonetik,fonologi},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {160},
  school       = {Lund University},
  series       = {Travaux de l'Institut de Linguistique de Lund},
  title        = {Voice Imitation : A Phonetic Study of Perceptual Illusions and Acoustic Success},
  volume       = {44},
  year         = {2003},
}