Indexical properties influence time-varying amplitude and fundamental frequency contributions of vowels to sentence intelligibility

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study investigated how non-linguistic, indexical information about talker identity interacts with contributions to sentence intelligibility by the time-varying amplitude (temporal envelope) and fundamental frequency (F0). Young normal-hearing adults listened to sentences that preserved the original consonants but replaced the vowels with a single vowel production. This replacement vowel selectively preserved amplitude or F0 cues of the original vowel, but replaced cues to phonetic identity. Original vowel duration was always preserved. Three experiments investigated indexical contributions by replacing vowels with productions from the same or different talker, or by acoustically morphing the original vowel. These stimulus conditions investigated how vowel suprasegmental and indexical properties interact and contribute to intelligibility independently from phonetic information. Results demonstrated that indexical properties influence the relative contribution of suprasegmental properties to sentence intelligibility. F0 variations are particularly important in the presence of conflicting indexical information. Temporal envelope modulations significantly improve sentence intelligibility, but are enhanced when either indexical or F0 cues are available. These findings suggest that F0 and other indexical cues may facilitate perceptually grouping suprasegmental properties of vowels with the remainder of the sentence. Temporal envelope modulations of vowels may contribute to intelligibility once they are successfully integrated with the preserved signal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-104
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Phonetics
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Fundamental frequency
  • Indexical cues
  • Intelligibility
  • Sentences
  • Suprasegmentals
  • Temporal envelope
  • Vowels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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