Impersonation: a phonetic case study of the imitation of a voice

Research output: Working paper


title = "Impersonation: a phonetic case study of the imitation of a voice",
abstract = "In language acquisition it is important to imitate the native speakers of the language. For the young child it is natural to imitate both the language and the behaviour of the culture. Imitation, or adaptation (Markham 1997), is also useful in second language acquisition to learn how to pronounce the words and to learn the prosody of the language. For most people it is difficult to learn to speak a second language in a native-like way after puberty (Larsen- Freeman & Long 1991). The normal young child does not fail in its acquisition and some people seem to have that ability even after puberty. Imitation can also be used for entertainment. Following Markham 1997, I call this type of imitation, when a speaker reproduces another speaker’s voice and speech characteristics, impersonation. For the impersonator it is necessary to be aware of the target speaker’s speech behaviour and characteristic features. Some experiments have been done with animals, birds, and monkeys, in trying to teach these animals a human language by imitating (Klatt & Stefanski 1974; Linell 1978). These experiments have not been completely successful, probably depending on the anatomy of the vocal tract of the animals and since the human brain is much more complex. However Klatt & Stefanski have done some analysis with an Indian mynah bird. They observe that the imitation made by the bird was quite good in the speechlike utterances as evidenced by the acoustic analysis.",
author = "Elisabeth Zetterholm",
year = "1997",
language = "English",
volume = "46",
series = "Working Papers, Lund University, Dept. of Linguistics",
type = "WorkingPaper",