Beyond speech: exploring diversity in the human voice

Andrey Anikin, Valentina Canessa-Pollard, Katarzyna Pisanski, Mathilde Massenet, David Reby

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskriftPeer review


Humans have evolved voluntary control over vocal production for speaking and singing, while preserving the phylogenetically older system of spontaneous nonverbal vocalizations such as laughs and screams. To test for systematic acoustic differences between these vocal domains, we analyzed a broad, cross-cultural corpus representing over 2 h of speech, singing, and nonverbal vocalizations. We show that, while speech is relatively low-pitched and tonal with mostly regular phonation, singing and especially nonverbal vocalizations vary enormously in pitch and often display harsh-sounding, irregular phonation owing to nonlinear phenomena. The evolution of complex supralaryngeal articulatory spectro-temporal modulation has been critical for speech, yet has not significantly constrained laryngeal source modulation. In contrast, articulation is very limited in nonverbal vocalizations, which predominantly contain minimally articulated open vowels and rapid temporal modulation in the roughness range. We infer that vocal source modulation works best for conveying affect, while vocal filter modulation mainly facilitates semantic communication.
Antal sidor12
Tidigt onlinedatum2023
StatusPublished - 2023 nov. 17

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Jämförande språkvetenskap och lingvistik
  • Oto-rino-laryngologi


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