Voice imitation - different ways of saying mobilsvar

Research output: Working paper


Voice imitation can be effective in different ways, both consciously and unconsciously, in situations such as language acquisition and for entertainment. The human voice is flexible, and it is possible to change the vocal tract in
order to imitate other people’s speech behaviour. To succeed with the imitation, we have to figure out important and characteristic features of the target speaker. Such features may be the dialect, the intonation pattern, the speech style, voice quality, as well as the pronunciation of sound segments.
A professional impersonator, who reproduces another speaker’s voice and speech behaviour, has to be aware of how to change the vocal tract and get close to the voice of the target speaker. For an impersonator the aim of voice imitation is to entertain or cheat. He probably has to exaggerate some of the
features of the target speaker’s speech behaviour, like a caricature, for it to be entertaining. One hypothesis is that if he is close to the target speaker in some critical features, he may yet fail with other less important features in his imitation and the audience will still have the impression of a successful voice imitation (Zetterholm 1997).


  • Elisabeth Zetterholm
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

NameWorking Papers, Lund University, Dept. of Linguistics

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