Acoustic-perceptual correlates of whispered Mandarin consonants

Min Xu*, Jing Shao, Hongwei Ding, Lan Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingConference proceedingpeer-review


This study aims to explore the acoustic-perceptual correlates of whispered Mandarin consonants. The acoustic features of whispered consonants in Mandarin in comparison to their phonated counterparts and their perceptual correlates were analyzed. The acoustic measurements included word duration, consonant duration, closure duration, and frication duration of plosives and affricatives as well as the intensity and spectral moments. Perceptual experiments examined identification accuracy and confusion matrices. The acoustic analyses showed that whispered consonants have longer durations. The intensities of consonants, especially nasals and semivowels, were lower in whispered conditions but the relative intensity of most whispered consonants became higher, except for nasals. The spectral moments of whispered fricatives and affricatives did not change significantly, and the duration distinction was preserved, although narrowed. The perceptual results showed that listeners had lower but still high consonant recognition accuracy (above 75%), possibly owing to the preserved spectral moments, duration distinction of aspiration and other acoustic features. The perceptions of nasal and aspiration distinctions were substantially influenced by whispering, which could be attributable to the lower intensity, the absence of vocal cord vibration, and the narrower duration distinction of aspiration. These findings enrich our understanding of the production and perception mechanisms of whispered consonants.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2022 13th International Symposium on Chinese Spoken Language Processing (ISCSLP)
EditorsKong Aik Lee, Hung-yi Lee, Yanfeng Lu, Minghui Dong
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9798350397963
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2022
Event13th International Symposium on Chinese Spoken Language Processing = 中文口語語言處理國際會議, ISCSLP 2022 - Singapore, Singapore
Duration: 11 Dec 202214 Dec 2022

Publication series

NameInternational Symposium on Chinese Spoken Language Processing


Conference13th International Symposium on Chinese Spoken Language Processing = 中文口語語言處理國際會議, ISCSLP 2022
Internet address

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Signal Processing

User-Defined Keywords

  • Mandarin
  • whispered speech
  • consonant perception
  • acoustic properties


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