SPHL2216: Speech Production
Assignment One: Vowel Analysis
Due Wednesday 15th Sept 2021
The goal of this assignment is to examine the acoustic phonetic properties of the citation-form vowels of
a single speaker of Australian English. Your response should demonstrate your understanding of and
i. elicitation of a complete vowel set in /hVd/ and /hVt/ contexts
ii. acoustic recording and data management
iii. acoustic segmentation and annotation in Praat
iv. spectrographic analysis of vowels
v. quantification of formant trajectories and targets
vi. construction and analysis of a vowel space
vii. quantification of vowel length
viii. interpretation and reporting of phonological and acoustic phonetic data
Detailed instructions and guidelines for each step have been provided in workshops. Use the methods you
have determined to be optimal for your data, and apply the knowledge and insights you have gained from
working through the workshop exercises.
1. Record your vowels. Make a high quality acoustic recording of your own productions of the complete
set of Australian English vowels, in both /hVd/ and /hVt/ contexts.
2. Identify and annotate each word in the elicitation set. Mark the beginning and end of each word,
using information in the waveform and spectrogram, and label each word on an annotation tier.
3. Demarcate and annotate all vowel intervals. Mark the beginning and end of each vowel interval
using information in the waveform and spectrogram, and transcribe each vowel in IPA on an
4. Identify the acoustic target(s) for each vowel. For each monophthong, locate the acoustic target and
indicate it with a ‘T’ on a point tier. For each diphthong, indicate the first ‘T1’ and second ‘T2’ targets
on the same tier.
5. Note any difficulties or acoustic phenomena of interest. On a separate point tier, note any issues
affecting location of targets or interval boundaries, and comment on any observations about the data
necessary to understand your analysis.
6. Determine F1 and F2 at each target. Measure the frequency of the first two formants for each vocoid
at the point in time identified as the target. Record all formant values in Hz in the spreadsheet
provided. Report integer values only.
7. Measure the duration of each vowel. Record all vowel durations in ms in the spreadsheet provided.
Report integer values only.
8. Capture an image showing your analysis of each vowel. Save a set of images in which all details of
your analysis are clearly visible, including waveform, spectrogram, formant tracks, word and vowel
annotations, interval boundaries, target(s), and vowel duration.
9. Plot an acoustic vowel space for all monophthongs in the /hVd/ context. Use standard methods for
constructing and presenting an acoustic vowel space from the first two formant frequencies.
10. Plot an acoustic vowel space for all monophthongs in the /hVt/ context. On a separate plot, present
an acoustic vowel space constructed from the /hVt/ vowels.
11. Plot the formant trajectories of all front rising diphthongs in the /hVd/ context. On a separate plot,
locate both targets of each diphthong and indicate the direction of movement with a straight arrow
connecting T1 to T2. Superimpose the diphthong trajectories on the /hVd/ monophthong vowel
12. Plot the formant trajectories of the back rising diphthongs in the /hVd/ context. On a separate plot,
locate both targets of each diphthong and indicate the direction of movement. Superimpose the
diphthong trajectories on the /hVd/ monophthong vowel space.
13. Plot durations for each vowel in /hVt/ and /hVd/ contexts.
14. Compare and discuss the /hVt/ and /hVd/ vowel spaces, diphthong trajectories, and durations.
15. Discuss how your vowels compare to data previously reported for Australian English and any other
languages or English varieties that may be relevant to your speech.
Response Structure and Format
All formant and duration measurements should be reported in the spreadsheet template provided, which
will be submitted as a separate document. This is the basis of your assignment, and all plots, analysis and
discussion must be grounded in these data. No credit will be awarded for responses that have not been
adequately explained or motivated, nor for unaccounted data.
Prepare your response in a report of 2500 words or less. Vowel space and duration plots must be included
in the body of your report, which must not exceed 4 pages. Make best use of 4 pages (layout, font size,
line spacing, margin width) to clearly present all data and meet all requirements.
Do not include a cover page. Provide a full reference list on Page 5 of your report. An annotated
spectrogram showing how each vowel was analysed should be included in an Appendix, starting from Page
6 of your report. Your Appendix should be as long as needed to clearly show how each vowel was analyzed
and to support all reported data (Instruction 8).
Organize the report into seven sections: Aims, Introduction, Methods, Findings, Discussion, References,
and Appendices. Provide enough information about yourself (the speaker) to motivate your aims, and to
inform your analysis and choice of references. Your Introduction should explain what a vowel plot is and
how it is useful, the relationship between formants and vowel properties, and what is meant by inherent
and contextual duration. You should include phonological and phonetic information about the vowel
systems of any other languages that are relevant to the way you speak Australian English.
The Methods section should include all and only the information necessary to explain what you did in
addition to the instructions provided; in particular: how you recorded your speech, segmented your data,
and your choice of spectral analysis settings.
In the Discussion, consider how your data align with previous findings for Australian English (and why it
may diverge), the relationships between diphthong and monophthong productions, and what your data
reveal about the influence of context on formant and durational values. Discuss the scope and limitations
of your study.
Use the grading criteria provided to guide your response. Don’t waste space on unnecessary prose.
Communicate your findings clearly, and present your analysis succinctly, using standard academic English
in a scientific register.
This is an individual assignment. Collusion is not permitted, and your response must be your own work.
Any sources of information that influenced your response and contribute to your submission – other than
the learning materials for this unit – must be acknowledged in accordance with standard citation practice.
Completed assignments must be submitted by 5 pm, Wednesday 15th September. Submit your response
in two parts:
i. a spreadsheet reporting your formant and duration data saved as an .xlsx document
ii. a four page report (+ additional pages for References and Appendix) saved as a PDF file
Name your files
A Turnitin submission link will be made available on iLearn. Submit each part of your response through a
separate link on the corresponding tab. You must submit both documents by the deadline. Check that you
have received a submission receipt for both documents.
you must sign before submission, and ensure that your response complies.
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