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Communication Acoustics: An Introduction to Speech, Audio and Psychoacoustics by Matti Karjalainen, Ville Pulkki

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5 Human Voice

The acoustic communication mode specific to human beings is speech. It is the original type of linguistic communication, substantially important for everyday life. Before the emergence of written language, speech was also a way to keep information alive through oral repetition, from one subject to another and from one generation to the next.

The speech communication chain is characterized in Figure 5.1. This model pays attention to the sourcechannelreceiver structure of communication, but also to the generative process within the speaker and the analysis chain at the receiver. The speaker combines a linguistic message (such as words to be said) with non-linguistic information (rhythm, stress, and intonation of the words) at neural processing levels, constructs motoric control signals for the speech organs, and produces a spoken message conveyed by an acoustic waveform. The communication channel can be any medium, such as a pressure wave in the air, a wired or wireless telephone channel, voice over internet (VoIP), radio, or storage (=temporal transfer) by a recording device. Finally, the receiver is a subject who, in favourable conditions, is able to uncover a meaningful representation from the content of the message. Peripheral hearing is first used to extract a general auditory representation, and then more speech-specific processes are involved to decode the linguistic contents. Sometimes the non-linguistic content can be more important than the linguistic ...

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