Vowel spectral contributions to English and Mandarin sentence intelligibility

Daniel Fogerty, Fei Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The current study investigated the spectral distribution of vowel cues to Mandarin and English sentence intelligibility. Sentences were segmentally interrupted to preserve various amounts of vowel information. Interruption parameters ensured that similar durations of speech were presented across the two languages. The remaining vowel cues were then either high-pass or low-pass filtered. Results demonstrated significant contributions of information present during vowels to sentence intelligibility. Performance was much higher in most of the conditions for Mandarin speech. In addition, Mandarin vowels contained a higher distribution of cues in the lowfrequencies, below 1000 Hz. Results suggest that Mandarin vowels carry additional cues in the low-frequencies, most likely related to lexical tone. This is further supported by the highly similar performance between Mandarin and English sentence intelligibility when spectral cues are confined to frequencies above 2000 Hz.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-503
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association, INTERSPEECH
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event15th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association: Celebrating the Diversity of Spoken Languages, INTERSPEECH 2014 - Singapore, Singapore
Duration: Sep 14 2014Sep 18 2014


  • Interruption
  • Lexical tone
  • Vowels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Signal Processing
  • Software
  • Modeling and Simulation


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