Learning Aims:
  • Investigating the formants of various vowels
  • Finding and formulating a research question concerning the human speech analysis
A sound sensor, interface and software that displays sound waveforms (e.g. CMA Coach 6, Ravel Lite or Java simulation Model of the Human Speech Production http://www2.spsc.tugraz.at/add_material/courses/scl/vocoder/simulation.html
    Suggestions for use:

    In this activity students investigate the human speech analysis. 
    This is an open inquiry in which students learn to find and formulate their own research question without strict guidance of their teacher. They learn to setup and successfully finish (possibly adjust along the way) their own practical experiment. With their conclusions, they practice critical thinking. Finally, they get a good picture of the content and (societal, industrial) applications of speech analysis. 
    The research questions given below give an idea of the scope of possibilities in this subject, they are not meant to share with the students beforehand, as finding their own research question is an important element of this assignment.

    Possible questions:

    Below, a number of the research questions are listed:

    • What, if any, is the difference in amplitude and frequency between vowels ‘a’ , ‘e’, ‘o’, and ‘u’? Which property can be used best to distinguish them?
    • How to approach orally the sound of a tuning fork?
    • Analysis and recognition of the sound pattern of the word Earth.
    • How do we recognize gender in the same vowels ‘a’, ‘e’ and ‘u’? Man versus woman!
    • Is there a difference (if so, which?) between the various ways of pronouncing the vowel ‘a’: with a pinched nose, behind a cloth, singing, whispering etc.
    • Comparison of the spectrum of a flute and a singing voice, producing the same note.
    • Which (of the lowest five) formant is typical for the sound or the voice, and which for the pitch (height of the tone)?
    • What feature is the most characteristic for a given vowel produced by different people: the relations between the formant frequencies and/or their amplitudes or the absolute differences between them?