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Abstract

Every speech sound that human beings produce or perceive is a composite of three independent, yet interdependent correlates, i.e., F0/pitch, intensity, and duration. Koffi (2019) provided a comprehensive review of F0 and its various correlations. In this paper, the focus is on intensity and its linguistic applications. Various terms related to intensity are first examined and explained. Thereafter, its psychoacoustic properties are highlighted and discussed from the standpoint of the Critical Band Theory (CBT) and Just Noticeable Difference (JND) thresholds. Intensity measurements from 55 speakers of Central Minnesota English (CMNE) are used to illustrate the aforementioned concepts. Later in the paper, Equation 4 is used to derive sonority indices that are firmly grounded in the physics of speech. It is argued that these indices are better suited to account for the Sonority Sequencing Principle (SSP) and the Minimal Sonority Distance Parameter (MSDP) than the arbitrary sonority indices commonly used in phonological analyses.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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