Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

Vocal imitations and the identification of sound events

Abstract : It is commonly observed that a speaker vocally imitates a sound that she or he intends to communicate to an interlocutor. We report on an experiment that examined the assumption that vocal imitations can e ffectively communicate a referent sound, and that they do so by conveying the features necessary for the identifi cation of the referent sound event. Subjects were required to sort a set of vocal imitations of everyday sounds. The resulting clusters corresponded in most of the cases to the categories of the referent sound events, indicating that the imitations enabled the listeners to recover what was imitated. Furthermore, a binary decision tree analysis showed that a few characteristic acoustic features predicted the clusters. These features also predicted the classi fication of the referent sounds, but did not generalize to the categorization of other sounds. This showed that, for the speaker, vocally imitating a sound consists of conveying the acoustic features important for recognition, within the constraints of human vocal production. As such vocal imitations prove to be a phenomenon potentially useful to study sound identifi cation.
Complete list of metadata

Cited literature [70 references]  Display  Hide  Download
Contributor : Arnaud Dessein Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Saturday, July 14, 2012 - 6:51:16 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, March 15, 2022 - 3:19:55 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Monday, October 15, 2012 - 2:25:36 AM


Files produced by the author(s)


  • HAL Id : hal-00717963, version 1


Guillaume Lemaitre, Arnaud Dessein, Patrick Susini, Karine Aura. Vocal imitations and the identification of sound events. Ecological Psychology, Taylor & Francis, 2011, 23 (4), pp.267-307. ⟨hal-00717963⟩



Record views


Files downloads