|Questions and AnswersStudent: How do I conduct an experiment?Answer: First you need to pose a research question.Student: Perfect! What are the vowels?
Answer: Errr! An experiment is a research study where you check the effect of one variable (we call this independent variable, such as stress position, speaker gender, age etc.) on something you measure for example the vowel formants, or the vowel duration, or the VOT for stops; the thing you measure is the dependent variable.
Student: Perfect! What are the vowels? …err I mean “What is the effect of speaker gender and speaker age on vowel formants?
Answer: Excellent! This is a much better question!!!
You should read the relevant pages from Ladefoged’s book “vowels and consonants”, or any other relevant book (these matters are covered in most cases in 2 or 3 pages). You should ask me again when you have fully understood the topic.
(see speech analysis tutorial for a general overview)
Here’s what sound waves look like. The caption reads, “A visible pattern of sound waves. This new technique of studying sound demonstrates the focusing effect of an acoustical lens on sound waves issuing from the horn at extreme left. Wave pattern is produced by a scanning technique . . .” Bell Telephone Laboratories (external link) photograph, from the book The First Book of Sound: A Basic Guide to the Science of Acoustics by David C. Knight, Franklin Watts, Inc. New York (1960). p. 80
You should visit the library for relevant materials. Download also these pages from Ladefoged, Peter. (2001). Vowels and consonants: an introduction to the sounds of languages. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Lectures employ examples mostly from English, but the assignment is about your pronunciation in your mother tongue. This is because for most of you English is an acquired language. If you want more information about your pronunciation you may have a look at his book (in Greek).