Acoustic analysis: determination of
component frequencies and their intensities.
study of the physical characteristics of speech
sounds. Dependent on the use of instrumental techniques of investigation,
particularly electronics, primarily the sound spectrograph.
Acoustic spectrum: a
graphical representation of a (typically complex)
sound in which amplitude is plotted against frequency. Resulting graph
shows the relative contribution of the overall sound made by every
Acoustics: the scientific
study of sounds and sound waves.
Agent: grammatical term for the
"doer" of an action. In English sentences,
the agent is most often the grammatical subject.
Amplitude: movement of an air
particle from its rest point in a sound
wave; most directly related to the acoustic correlate intensity and the
perceptual correlate loudness.
Auditory perceptual analysis: analysis
based on (human) listener perception.
analysis of speech units larger than the sentence and
of their relationship to the contexts in which they are used.
identification: the use of auditory analysis, acoustic
analysis, and/or computerized techniques to recognize, identify, or
discriminate among human voices in police investigations or courtroom
Formant: component of the
frequency spectrum of speech sounds. The
interactions of the three lowest formants (F1, F2, and F3) are highly
diagnostic, producing the distinctive sound quality of vowels and many
Frequency: the number of
cycles of vocal cord vibration per second as
measured in Hz. Generally speaking, the higher the frequency of a sound
wave, the higher the pitch of the perceived sound.
Haitian Creole: native
language of some 4 million people in the Caribbean;
primarily French-based with influences from West African languages Wolof,
Mandingo, and Ewe.
Intensity: amount of energy
carried by a sound wave as measured in
decibels; the acoustic correlate of the perceptual-auditory correlate
Modals: auxiliary verbs that
modify the meaning of the main verb by
suggesting possibility, probability, necessity, permission, obligation,
prohibition, or ability. English modals include can, could, may, might,
will, would, shall, should, must, and ought to.
specializing in phonetics (i.e., the study of speech
sound production and perception).
Pitch: perceptual correlate
of the frequency of a sound wave. In general,
the higher the perceived pitch, the higher the frequency.
Prosody: term used to refer
to speech elements such as intonation, pitch,
rate, loudness, rhythm, etc.
Reported speech: a
grammatical construction in which reports are made of
something that was said, written, or thought (e.g., She said she was
home); also called indirect speech.
Speaker identification: the use of
auditory analysis, acoustic analysis,
and/or computerized techniques to recognize, identify, or discriminate
among human voices.
Speaker profiling: the process of
analyzing and identifying the
auditory-perceptual and acoustic characteristics of a given voice sample.
interchangeably to refer to either
(1) the instrument used in acoustic phonetics to provide a visual graph of
acoustic features representing a given utterance or (2) the graph itself.
Tag question: a statement
followed by a type of reduced question (e.g.,
You saw him that day, didn't you?).
Voice comparison: the
comparative analysis of two or more voice samples in
an effort to ascertain whether, and to what extent it is likely, they are
the same speaker.
Voice pitch frequency, also fundamental frequency: refers to the lowest
frequency component in a sound wave.
Definitions provided with the assistance of the following sources:
Campbell, George L. Compendium of the World's Languages.
Colby, Anita (Ed). Thesaurus of Linguistic Indexing Terms (2nd
San Diego, CA: Sociological Abstracts, LLC, 1998.
Crystal, David. CEncyclopedia of Language (2nd ed.).
U Press, 1997.
A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics (4th ed.). Oxford:
McArthur, Tom (Ed). Concise Oxford Companion to the English
Oxford U Press, 1996.
Trask, R. L. A Dictionary of Phonetics and Phonology. London: