Acoustic differences between voiced and whispered speech in gender diverse speakers

Nichole Houle, Susannah V. Levi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Whispered speech is a naturally produced mode of communication that lacks a fundamental frequency. Several other acoustic differences exist between whispered and voiced speech, such as speaking rate (measured as segment duration) and formant frequencies. Previous research has shown that listeners are less accurate at identifying linguistic information (e.g., identifying a speech sound) and speaker information (e.g., reporting speaker gender) from whispered speech. To further explore differences between voiced and whispered speech, acoustic differences were examined across three datasets (hVd, sVd, and ʃVd) and three speaker groups (ciswomen, transwomen, cismen). Consistent with previous studies, vowel duration was generally longer in whispered speech and formant frequencies were shifted higher, although the magnitude of these differences depended on vowel and gender. Despite the increase in duration, the acoustic vowel space area (measured either with a vowel quadrilateral or with a convex hull) was smaller in the whispered speech, suggesting that larger vowel space areas are not an automatic consequence of a lengthened articulation. Overall, these findings are consistent with previous literature showing acoustic differences between voiced and whispered speech beyond the articulatory change of eliminating fundamental frequency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4002-4013
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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