Intonation in speaker identification: an experiment on pitch alignment features


  • Francis Nolan University of Cambridge



forensic speaker identification, spectrographic analysis, formants, telephone transmission, speaker characteristics


While long-term fundamental frequency statistics have been shown to be useful in discriminating speakers, relatively little attention has been paid in work on speaker characterization to intonation as a linguistically and phonetically structured phenomenon. To help redress the balance, this article presents the results of an experiment on between-speaker differences in linguistically specified intonational events. An autosegmental-metrical model of intonation is assumed which uses H (high) and L (low) targets as its primes. Since the pitch of the events corresponding to these targets is highly variable due to factors such as within-speaker variation in pitch range (or ‘pitch span’), this study investigates as a source of speaker discrimination the temporal alignment of these intonational events with segmental events. A limited degree of discrimination is achieved in highly controlled materials. Of theoretical interest is that definable pitch events lying between H and L targets show more potential for betweenspeaker discrimination than the targets themselves.

Author Biography

Francis Nolan, University of Cambridge



How to Cite

Nolan, F. (2002). Intonation in speaker identification: an experiment on pitch alignment features. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law, 9(1), 1–21.




Most read articles by the same author(s)