Consonant and vowel confusions in speech-weighted noise

Sandeep A. Phatak, Jont B. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents the results of a closed-set recognition task for 64 consonant-vowel sounds (16 C X 4 V, spoken by 18 talkers) in speech-weighted noise (-22,-20,-16,-10,-2 [dB]) and in quiet. The confusion matrices were generated using responses of a homogeneous set of ten listeners and the confusions were analyzed using a graphical method. In speech-weighted noise the consonants separate into three sets: a low-scoring set C1 (/f/, /θ/, /v/, /o/, /b/, /m/), a high-scoring set C2 (/t/, /s/, /z/, /∫/, /z/) and set C3 (/n/, /p/, /g/, /k/, /d/) with intermediate scores. The perceptual consonant groups are C1: {/f/-/θ/, /b/-/v/-/o/, /θ/-/o/ -, C2: {/s/-/z/, /∫/-/z/}-, and C3: /m/-/n/, while the perceptual vowel groups are /a/-/æ/ and /ε/-/I/. The exponential articulation index (AI) model for consonant score works for 12 of the 16 consonants, using a refined expression of the AI. Finally, a comparison with past work shows that white noise masks the consonants more uniformly than speech-weighted noise, and shows that the AI, because it can account for the differences in noise spectra, is a better measure than the wideband signal-to-noise ratio for modeling and comparing the scores with different noise maskers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2312-2326
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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