INSPECTing read speech: How different typefaces affect speech prosody

Author(s): Stephanie Berger, Carina Marquard and Oliver Niebuhr

Abstract

Innovating Speech Elicitation Techniques (INSPECT) is a line of research that aims to describe and quantify how different recording methods and materials affect speech production both inside and outside the laboratory. In addition, it aims to find new elicitation techniques or refine established techniques such that they provide a better control over speaking styles and/or target variables, particularly with respect to informal and expressive speech. Against this background, the present study investigates if and how typefaces of texts affect prosodic patterns in read speech. Analysing recordings of 24 Standard German native speakers showed that typeface has clear effects on the realization of prosodic patterns in read speech tasks. This includes local events like disfluencies, laughter, and breathing, as well as holistic characteristics of prosodic phrases like mean f0 and intensity levels, f0 ranges, f0 slopes, and speaking rates. For example, texts using sans-serif typefaces like Arial were produced very fluently. The opposite was true for typefaces like Forte and Times, which caused more expressive speech, laughter, and L* and H% intonations.

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