tara michelle graber rosenberger
M.S. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 1995
B.A. University of Waterloo 1993
Prosody in this thesis represents the melody and rhythm people use in natural speech. Even unintentionally, prosody expresses the emotional state of the speaker, her attitude towards whom she’s talking with and what she’s talking about, resolves linguistic ambiguity, and points towards any new focus of linguistic information.
Prosodic Font is an experiment in designing a font that takes its temporal
form from continuous and discrete phonetic and phonological speech parameters.
Each glyph – the visual form of an alphabetic letter – is comprised of
one or more font primitives called strokes. These strokes are placed within
a grid space using two of four possible basic constraints: independence
or dependence, and simultaneity or consecutiveness. Over time and in systematic
accordance with parameters from a piece of speech, these stroke primitives
transform shape, size, proportions, orientation, weighting and shade/tint.
Prosodic Font uses a combination of machine and human recognition techniques to create text descriptions of prosodic parameters from a sound corpus developed expressly for this thesis. The sound corpus is excerpted from two speakers – one male and one female – who are telling stories about four different emotional experiences. Because affective extremes produce prosodic extremes, the corpus involves great prosodic variety and voice range.
According to preliminary user testing results, people are able to identify systems of graphic transforms as representative of systems of prosodic variation. I found that rhythmic variation and variations in vocal stress are extremely important in peoples’ ability to match Prosodic Font files to speech audio files.
Thesis Supervisor: Ronald L. MacNeil
Principal Research Associate
MIT Media Laboratory
This work was performed at the MIT Media Laboratory.
Support for this work was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts,
the Digital Life and News in the Future corporate sponsor consortiums.
The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the
Principal Research Scientist
Laboratory for Computer Science, MIT
Creative Documents Initiative
Xerox Corporation @ PARC
Certain colleagues at the Media Lab were collaborators and innovators in the course of my study. To these people who took the time to develop an ongoing intellectual, aesthetic conversation with me, I thank Janet Cahn, Kevin Brooks, Dave Small, Stefan Agamanalis, Brygg Ullmer, Peter Cho, Pushpinder Singh, Maggie Orth, Arjan Schutte, Phillip Tiongson, Nick Montfort, Tom Slowe, and Max VanKleek, my amazing and talented UROP. Thanks to Bill Keyes, Fernanda Viegas, and Tim McNerney, for the camaraderie during our short-lived internship in IG. Special thanks to Kevin Brooks, Maggie Orth, Nick Montfort, Laurie Hiyakumoto, Janet Cahn, Bill Keyes, and Richie Rivetz for contributions made to this Prosodic Font work.
Many thanks are due to Ron MacNeil, a designer and my advisor for two years at the Media Lab, for not only allowing me to think and plan in abstract, wild terms, but for encouraging me to widen the purview of any stake I resolutely planted. Ron gave me freedom to learn and research.
Stephanie Shattuck-Hufnagel and Samuel J. Keyser placed me on my feet
initially in the vast and overwhelming field of prosody, rhythm and intonation.
Stephanie Seneff was instrumental in helping me focus the work and understand
arcane technicalities involved in speech recognition. Maribeth Back directed
me towards a body of literature that dealt with mapping relationships between
sound and image, as well as inspired me with ideas of Prosodic Font instruments.
Suguru Ishizaki’s own design work and feedback at nascent points in Prosodic
Font work focused and motivated me.
Glorianna Davenport and Justine Cassell welcomed me into their respective research groups at various points and gave me the benefits of their creative and scientific perspectives. John Maeda taught me the conceptual and technical tools in his new course, Typography, that enabled me to write Prosodic Font.
My love and appreciation to Mom and Dad, for continuously putting my life into perspective during the most difficult and busiest of times. Your gifts to me are more than I can ever realize.
And to Samarjit, who transformed my thesis experience and my life, my
Compared to the richness of speech, writing is a meager system. A speaker
uses stress, pitch, rate, pauses, voice qualities, and a host of other
sound patterns not even vaguely defined to communicate a message as well
as attitudes and feelings about what he is saying. Writing can barely achieve
such a repertoire.
Gibson and Levin, from the Psychology of Reading (1975).
This thesis is about writing. Or rather, what writing might become when
one is writing by speaking. What does the introduction of software that
can translate speech into written symbols do to the nature of writing,
of reading? Does the message itself, the written object, change in appearance
from what we now know, and from what it appears to be at first glance?
Does it encode just the words that we write now by hand? Or does it also
encode the emotional overtones, the lyric melody, the subtle rhythms of
our speech into the written symbology? What, then, does typography become?
Prosodic typography uses the active recognition of speech and prosody – the song and rhythm of ordinary talk – in the design of a font. Further, the temporal and dynamic characteristics of speech are to some extent transferred to font representation, lending written representations some of talk’s transitory, dynamic qualities. A prosodic font is designed for motion, not static print. Prosodic typography is the electronic intervention between speech and text. It represents the contextual, individual aspects of speech that printed typography does not capture.
Prosodic Font is a project that explores what becomes possible when speech recognition merges with dynamic forms of typography. Already, writing is no longer a kinesthetic exercise, but a vocal one. Next, speech recognition will recognize not just the word itself but how the word was said, and how long it lasted, and how quickly the next word followed. Even vocal events like inhaling and exhaling, sounds which are particularly explosive, and speech errors like words left only half-begun can have visual correlates. These prosodic characteristics can be mapped onto the structural architecture of a letterform, called a glyph. In this dynamic context, word presentation adopts some of the temporal quality of speech, adopting a temporal word by word presentation rather than having them appear as beads on a visual string.
Text has long been considered one of the least rich mediums of communication, face to face conversation the richest because it involves speech, facial expression, gesture and temporal forms (Daft and Lengel, 1987). Non-rich forms of communication admit greater ambiguity into the cycle of interpretation between people; hence, richer forms of communication are the preferred modes of interaction in highly volatile business communications, as well as intimate personal relationships, where subtle innuendoes are read deeply by participants. By introducing prosodic expression indications into textual written form, text as a medium may develop greater communicative richness. A prosodic font would be situated in the continuum of rich mediums between telephony (voice alone) and textual communication as we currently understand it.
Speech is a medium of emotional communication as well as a medium of semantic communication. After the face, vocal inflection is the second-most modality expressive of emotion we possess (Picard, 1997). Research into emotion and speech has found that people can recognize affect with 60% reliability when context and meaning are obscured (Scherer, 1981). Humans can distinguish arousal in the voice (angry versus sad) but frequently confuse valence ( angry versus enthusiastic). Scherer believes this confusion would be mitigated with contextual features (1981). Because the voice is a vehicle of emotional expression with measurable – and often continuous – vocal characteristics, a prosodic font can use these continuous vocal measurements in the design of temporal typographic forms. Writing a Prosodic Font with one’s voice assures that the current emotional state one has will be invested into the font representation. Each mark, each letter would be signed by the author’s current emotional tone of voice.
The concept of voice has been used to symbolize the externalization
of one’s internal state. To have voice within feminist and psychoanalytic
literature is to have power, agency and character. This metaphor of voice
derives from our experience of producing sound, an act of making what is
internal – the air in our lungs – an external, public object. Voice is
an act of expression that moves what is internal, private and undifferentiated
into an external, public and particular environment. Unlike a static font,
a prosodic font does not forget the instant of emergence from the body.
The prosodic font captures the emergence and unfolding of sound from the
body, recording also the physical part of communication that has not had
a place within textual communication.
Some designers today have embraced computer technology and code as the very medium they work with, like paints and canvas. Computers allow the exploration of forms and mediums that have heretofore not existed. I consider prosodic font work to contribute to this exploratory design. I ask, “How can the letters of the English alphabet be represented, differentiated and animated? When the exchange of text occurs through a computer interface rather than a non-electronic paper interface, how can the nature of font representation change? What additional information can a font convey when the font represents a speaking voice rather than a hand-manipulated pen?”
Trends in speech recognition and synthesis have been narrowly focused upon recognizing semantic word units only. The influence of prosody upon the interpretation of semantics and speaker intention has been neglected. Furthermore, research in prosody recognition proceeds largely outside of and separate from speech recognition research efforts. Commercially available speech recognition packages do not even consider that third party developers might be interested in something aside from semantic content. IBM’s Via Voice and DragonSpeak’s Naturally Speaking do not include external code libraries to permit third party developers to further process the raw speech signals.
Speech recognition is largely a black-boxed procedure. Although this state of affairs is a testament to the difficulty of prosody recognition and interpretation, this may also be attributed to the fact that there are few compelling applications that use prosody and vocal expression in conjunction with semantic speech recognition. Prosodic Font can begin to demonstrate the commercial viability of corporate prosody and speech recognition, widening the scope of what qualifies currently as speech recognition. Prosodic Font contributes to the field of speech generation by developing discrete textual descriptions of emotionally charged segments of speech. This work points to prosodic features of interest, and how one might describe them in text.
Prosodic Font could also be useful to researchers in prosody and speech as a tool to help recognize and identify prosodic and voice quality variation. Currently researchers learn how to read prosodic variation from sequences of numbers and spectrograms of speech data. Prosodic Font could be visual, temporal tool to help researchers identify the success or failure of the algorithms they develop to extract prosody and affective features from speech.
Prosodic fonts are becoming a social need. Writing has seldom been used as a communication medium in environments in which people are spatially co-located, sometimes even in neighboring offices. The influence of electronic mail has made writing a tool of everyday management, conversation, and even romantic courting. Yet, writing email is done differently than writing on paper has been done (Ferrara, Brunner, and Whittemore, 1991). The email register (i.e. “tone of voice”) is decidedly more informal, even shorthand-ish, than writing that is used in other written contexts. This informal register, added to the lack of richness and the level of spontaneity that the email medium allows, has led to many terrible misunderstandings between people where the writer’s intent has been judged to be much different than that which the writer intended. In face-to-face conversation, prosody is central among human communication tools for conveying psychological-emotional state, intentions, and the point of information focus. When writing provides little context for the hapless reader, such as in email, there is a need for speaker’s intention and emotional state cues to be provided along with the semantics of the message.
In the world of portable technology, there is a need for seamless translation
between mediums such as voice and text, depending upon the sender’s and
recipient’s current social needs. A prosodic font provides such an interface
that does not compromise an audio message to the extent that semantic speech
recognition would. Further, a prosodic font’s design potential for emerging
through time might be easily adapted to very small displays. For example,
imagine you are ensconced within a formal situation that should not be
interrupted, such as an important business meeting. You receive notice
through one of your portables that someone important to you has sent you
a message. You want to hear it, but you don’t want to risk interrupting
the meeting, nor do you want others around you to hear your message. You
select “visual” output. The message plays in a prosodic font, reflecting
the sender’s tone of voice, rhythm, loudness, and forcefulness in the systematic
movement of the syllables over time. You can see in the words how the sender
expresses emotion vocally, and you understand more deeply what she meant
to convey to you by seeing how the words change relative to each other.
In this way, translation from audio to text may occur without losing speech
information. The written message is individual, contextual and expressive.
This work builds upon work completed in the Visual Language Workshop
(VLW). Researchers and students designed computer interfaces to textual
information that involve many notions of time. It is VLW students, particularly
Yin Yin Wong, who transferred the idea of Rapid Serial Visual Presentation
(RSVP) to message design. The Aesthetics and Computation Group (ACG), chasing
Professor John Maeda’s vision of how computer technology transforms design,
is an intoxicating trajectory with no clear ending. Janet Cahn’s work in
emotive, intonational speech generation – and Janet Cahn herself – have
provided me with direction into an amorphous and distributed body of prosody
and emotion literature. And, lastly, the spirit of curiosity and art that
envelopes even the most scientific of inquiries here has allowed me to
learn the technical skills I needed to accomplish this work.
Typographic History describes the historical features of typographic
space and perceptual issues of font design. I discuss the migration of
some of these historical graphic features to temporal design, and introduce
Prosody is a paralinguistic category that can describe the song – or intonation, rhythm, and vocal timbre (or voice quality) found in all spoken utterances of all languages. Prosody functions above the linguistic function of language, meaning, prosodic meaning does not bear a one-to-one relationship to semantic meaning. It is a non-arbitrary use of vocal features to convey the way we feel about what we are saying, as well as how we are feeling when we say anything. A number of primitive features interact within any spoken utterance to create a uniquely phrased and emphasized utterance. A spoken utterance, then, conveys two simultaneous channels of communication – the linguistic and paralinguistic. Written language represents the linguistic channel. Prosodic Font goes further to represent the paralinguistic channel on top of the visual linguistic representations.
Dr. Robert Ladd describes the coordination of the paralinguistic and linguistic:
Defining prosody is a difficult and contentious task since there is
no common agreement. Further, each discipline places different vocal features
into the prosodic feature set. Computational linguists and speech communication
researchers identify intonation and prominence as the major prosodic feature
set items, while poets and poetry critics associate prosody with rate of
speaking and metrical rhythm. Experimental psychologists have studied vocal
prosody for how it can inform research on emotion. Some findings go so
far as to integrate prosodic parameters of voice quality, range, and speaking
duration differences along axes of emotion; however, there are fundamental
disagreements about how emotional space is defined. Some anthropologists
have looked at how vocal timbre changes across context, building upon the
work of linguistic anthropologist John Gumperz in contextualized vocal
prosody (1982). Yet this work is not complete nor systematized.
Not only is the definition and what constitutes the prosodic feature in question, but the basic function of prosody within and across languages is in dispute. Prosody may have universal import to humans, irrespective of which language is spoken. The universality of prosody is often borne out in psychological tests in which subjects identify the primary emotion in a voice speaking a language unknown to them (Scherer 1981). Intonational phonology’s primary goal is to discover the universal functions of prosody. On the other hand, linguists often subjugate prosody to the status of a linguistic amplifier, believing that prosody is used by speakers to foreground certain linguistic items introduced into the conversation, amongst other things.
The field of prosody varies across three dimensions:
My approach to Prosodic Font involves a combination of approaches. Prosodic Font uses low- to mid-level signal characterizations of voice in order to represent individual differences between speakers. However, these events are understood as linear sequences of meaningful events in order to capture the emotional intention of the song and rhythm apart from the pronunciation requirements of particular words. This serves to smooth the low-level signals and foreground higher level changes and trends. For example, Prosodic Font does not represent the spectral differences between an /a/ phoneme and an /i/ phoneme, but it would represent a general increase in volume and fall in pitch.
Prosodic Font does not require that speech be labeled as an instance of any categorical emotion or syntactical construction. Although vocal characteristics of some basic emotions have been identified, correctly identifying affect in a voice signal is fraught with the potential of mis-identification. To avoid this, I built Prosodic Font with an implicit understanding that prosody functions primarily as an instrument of emotional communication, but the best way to represent affect is to use interpretations of low- to mid-level voice signals.
Prosodic Font is interested in more speech data than is currently described in most syntactical, linguistic research. Casual speech is not often used as an object of analysis. As such, speech errors such as false starts and mispronunciations, non-linguistic exclamations and the like are not described as significant events in syntactic research; whereas, Prosodic Font would find these meaningful, expressive vocal events. Certainly, if Prosodic Font were ever generated from text, syntax and discourse structure would be central as it is in speech generation. But in terms of speaking Prosodic Font, syntax emerges as a by-product of a speaker using proper grammatical forms. Syntax, per se, does not affect the visuals.
Prosodic Font assumes that people intuitively understand intonation as a relative system of contrasts and similarities, and that people will still understood the semantic intention of prosody if the parameters that comprise its system are mapped onto a completely alternative medium. This assumes that there is nothing essential or hard-wired about people’s use and understanding of sound, except that it is an extremely flexible instrument particularly well-suited to a system as elastic and diverse as prosody. Hence, if there were a correspondingly flexible medium, such as computational fonts, there could be many mapping relationships established between the parameters sets that would be expressively meaningful to readers. This assumes a competency on the part of readers, that they can and will be able to read and understand the prosodic relationships conveyed via fonts. It also assumes a competency on the part of the font designers, speech and prosody recognition systems, that they will select signals to map and mapping relationships that implicitly have semantic, expressive, and affective meanings to people.
First, I define the prosodic feature set, in terms of song and rhythm.
Secondly, I describe the perceptual and computational techniques for finding
these features within spontaneous speech. Next, I describe methods of describing
prosodic features according to relevant theories within the phonetic and
phonological fields, and specify which ones are most productive in a Prosodic
Font context. And finally, I review provocative functions of prosody; and
argue that prosody must be understood first as a situated, emotional expression
that interacts closely with linguistic structure.
Intonation occurs in units called intonational phrases. The intonational
phrase can be distinguished by the presence of an ending tone that signals
its closure and by a duration of silence that follows the utterance. The
duration of the silence and the height or depth of the ending tone that
follows an intonational phrase may be indicative of the intended strength
of the ending (Ladd, 1996) or a speaker’s intention of continuing (Pierrehumbert
and Hirschberg, 1990). The ending tone, or boundary tone, forms a tonal
tail on the utterance that is high, equal, or low relative to the utterance.
An intonational phrase does not imply any degree of well-formedness.
For example, if a person stops suddenly during an utterance – even half-way
through a word – and begins again on a different subject, or coughs or
burps, the presence of silence should be sufficient reason to mark the
end of an intonational phrase. Therefore, an intonational phrase is not
beholden to any syntactical-grammatical notion of completeness or well-formedness.
And, in fact as we shall see later, vocal disturbances and so-called speech
“errors” can be revealing of the speaker’s affective state. Hence, Prosodic
Font should seek to convey these non-linguistic vocal sounds as well as
Prosodic prominence is created through intonational contours; hence, it is an accent conveyed as an aspect of the utterance’s tune. It is also called intonational accent, pitch accent, or just accent. Accent is placed upon syllables that are often, but not exclusively, found within the class of lexically prominent syllables.
A pitch accent is achieved through distinctive changes in the F0 contour.
These changes can be classified as either High or Low. A number of prosodic
features often coincide with an accent, such as increased duration, increased
loudness, and vowel fullness (i.e. not reduced phonetic form).
Bolinger defines accent as “...intonation at the service of emphasis....[I]t makes certain syllables stand out in varying degrees above others, revealing to our hearer how important the words containing them are to us, and revealing also, by the buildup of accents, how important the whole message is” (1989, p. 3). Ladd defines accent as an independent linguistic element, treating fundamental frequency as “the manifestation of an overarching structure in which elements of a tune are associated with elements of a text in ways that reflect the prominence relations in the text. A high F0 peak is no longer seen as a phonetic property of a prominent syllable, but as an element of the phonological structure of the utterance, on a par with the prominent syllable itself” (1996, p. 55). An accent selects out a particular word over other words, revealing the speaker’s communication intention through the relative selection, as well as the relative forcefulness of the accent. Any word, irrespective of syntactical class, can bear an accent, depending on the speaker’s intention.
Pitch accents can be produced and perceived through very subtle changes in intonation. Humans can perceive tonal changes as small as .3Hz to .5Hz, and rates of linear rising or falling slopes near 0 (Grandour, 1978). However, Bruce found evidence that it is pitch target level, and not amount of pitch displacement, that is perceptually most important (1977). This would insinuate that there are specific tonal sequences that have innate heightened meaning for humans. Rises and falls could be understood as smooth transitions from one “highly specified” peak accent to another. Ladd writes that for the same utterance, speakers control pitch accent targets with low standard deviation. Therefore, exact pitch levels achieved may be perceptually meaningful to hearers (Ladd, 1996). However, work on pitch target levels is descriptive: researchers can only observe pitch levels produced rather than have subjects predict which pitch they intend to produce. Describing a propensity towards a particular pitch differential is not an intentional target, but an observed effect.
The debate about pitch target levels is very important for a system such as Prosodic Font. If pitch target levels themselves are more meaningful than the difference between specified tonal points – and the slopes of change between them, then prosody is inherently a vocal, auditory system. As such, prosody could not be mapped onto another medium, such as a visual spatial medium, and convey the auditory system of meaning. In contrast, phonology believes that prosody can be extracted from any particular pitch as a system of pitch contrasts. It is doubtful that pitch target levels are the sole, or even central, point of prosodic meaning. Therefore, Prosodic Font might use prosodic variation systematically within a visual spatial medium to convey prosodic meaning.
Accentual prominence can be used to pull out a single word for purposes of contrast and comparison (eg. “emphatic” accent), or to focus attention over an entire phrase. The difference can be understood from the following joke. A Reporter and a notorious Bank Robber have the following exchange as described in Ladd (1996):
Reporter: “Why do you
Bank Robber: “Because THAT’s where the real MONey is.”
The reporter wanted the robber to interpret the accent on banks as a
phrasal accent, or broad accent. This would require the Bank Robber to
speak of the philosophical origins of his thieving behavior. The Robber
chose instead to interpret the accent on “banks” as an emphatic rather
than broad accent, which instead means something like “why banks and not
clothing stores?” There is little evidence as of yet that the differences
in these accents are evident physically, or whether they are a product
of some shared discourse plan. My point in discussing this example is to
show how delicate a task is the representation of prosody in spontaneous
speech, since such vast interpretive differences are possible and common.
Any prosodic coding schema must attend to the details of accentual prominence.
And any application using prosody would be wise to keep the communication
Grandour and Harshman conducted studies on tone and range perception and found that for English speakers, average pitch and extreme endpoints were the most salient perceptual features; while for speakers of tone languages (e.g. Thai and Yoruba) direction and slope proved most salient. For all subjects, the pitch perceptual space is curved, such that a very high tone and a very low tone are more similar than two different medium level tones (Grandour 1978). Whatever curvature exists within tonal perceptual space would need to mapped onto visual space as well. In this way, high and low tones are both more unusual than medium tones, and need to be non-linearly more prominent than medium tones.
Pitch range does appear to be perceived in a large-scale segmented manner. Speakers use high and low ranges to different semantic effect. In Ohala’s ethology-inspired “universal frequency code,” high pitches convey smallness and attitudes of defenselessness while low tones convey dominance and power (1983). Other semantic codes suggest that the cry performed from birth begins a long association of vocal tension and heightened arousal with rising pitch, and that calm and relaxation becomes associated with lower pitches.
As an accompaniment to discourse structure, pitch range expands and
contracts, raises and depresses. When speakers begin a new topic, their
pitch range expands; conversely, when speakers are drawing to the end of
an intonational phrase, their pitch range compresses. There are two representational
methods of accounting for this: the declination model which accounts for
the lowering in a continuous linear fashion (Collier and t’Hart, 1981,
as represented within Ladd, 1996) or a categorical, step-wise manner that
also demonstrates the tendency for pitch accent targets to diminish proportionally
across speakers (Bruce, 1977; Pierrehumbert, 1980).
The Prosodic Font does not use any inherent notion of declination since
no theory can aid with identification. More productively, I use target
accent, duration, and syllable offsets that I introduce in the following
Rhythm section to account for the pitch range instability.
Research into spoken rhythm has been handicapped by too close an attention to word citation form, ignoring the study of rhythmic structure within natural language. As such, the tools for prosodic rhythmic description are similar to those from formally structured music (Lerdahl and Jackendoff, 1983) in which a strict metrical division is observed. However, spoken rhythm has no strict notion of metrical divisions that can be understood in clock-time. And even musical performance involves stretching and compressing of the specified rhythm. Although the theory of rhythm has been well documented in circles from poetry to linguistics, the performance of rhythm has not.
Bruce and Liberman conducted informal experiments into rhythmic performance
in 1984 (as reported in Beckman, 1986). They had subjects read phrases
as rhythmically as possible and found that the stressed syllables were
much longer than their unstressed varieties. They also found that the interfoot
intervals “were no more isochronous than in ‘normal’ readings” (Beckman,
1986, p. 93). Prosodic Font requires a higher level understanding of rhythmic
performance in order to represent the rhythmic intention rather than side-effects
of phonetic pronunciation requirements. How to develop abstractions of
metrical unit from the performance of spoken rhythm is the question. This
might involve methods of normalizing the differences in time required to
produce certain phonemes as opposed to others, applying rhythmic changes
non-linearly such that very fast speech is not as visually fast, or allowing
“hearers” to control the speed of visual playback.
Linguist Mary Beckman specifies three forms of lexical stress patterns
in English: primary accent (full stress), secondary accent (an ‘unstressed’
full vowel), and tertiary accent (a reduced vowel) (1986). Primary accent
is the combined syllabic effect of the prosodic features duration and loudness.
Secondary and tertiary stressed forms are differentiated only on the basis
of vowel quality, full or reduced. Full vowel form is based upon the phonetic
understanding of the citation form of the word. Reduced vowel form is a
result of the vowel in citation form changing toward a more central, neutral
A Prosodic Font must have an understanding of at which point in the
syllable the pitch target was achieved, and not just that a pitch target
was achieved during a particular syllable. Imagine that a good friend is
telling you a story she is very excited about. She gets to the part when
she imitates a large explosion, “BOOM!” she says with a wild wave of her
hand. Her intonation of the word starts from the bottom of her vocal range
and flies to the top and back down again. Ladd points out that a unique
feature in the description of a pitch accent is the rhythmic offset of
the onset of the vowel from the pitch target achieved (1996). This temporal
delay is used to dramatic effect.
The intonation of an utterance is created through tracking the fundamental frequency signal of the voice. Fundamental frequency is a product of voiced sounds, of vibrating the glottal folds during vocalization. Fundamental frequency trackers approach unvoiced phonemes differently, including leaving an empty duration, or using straight line interpolation between the preceding and succeeding voiced phonemes. Since a Prosodic Font is not interested in the intrinsic nature of various phonemes, linear or non-linear interpolation between voiced phonemic events is a proper approach to creating a continuous intonational contour.
Capturing the intonational contour from F0 is a process of smoothing
the F0 curve to remove small perturbations, and using interpolation to
fill in the gaps of silence during unvoiced events. Intonation must be
understood as an abstraction from the phonemic effects of pronunciation.
Even at the most sophisticated technological level in tracking fundamental
frequency, the computational results must still be checked by hand. Fundamental
frequency by its very nature yields a discontinuous signal because it only
tracks voiced phonetic events. Hence, every instance of an unvoiced phoneme
(eg. /t/, /p/, /q/, /th/, /f/, et cetera) will result in a gap in the F0
contour (see figure 14 below).
Plosive phonemes are created by stopping the emission of air completely with the tongue or lips and then releasing it explosively. Plosive phonemes such as /p/ and /t/ often cause a high-pitched, scattering effect on the fundamental frequency. This scattering is characteristic of the phonemic pronunciation, and is not considered part of the intonational tune (see figure 14 above).
Differences in voice quality can greatly affect the success of F0 tracking.
The glottal phoneme found in English speech – the difference between “she
eats” as opposed to “sheets” – can occur as a vocal characteristic. Called
creaky voice, vocal fry, pulse register, et cetera in the literature, it
causes peculiarities that show up clearly in the signal as irregular periodicity
and amplitude variations (Kiesling et al., 1995). If a speaker uses creaky
voice over an extended part of an utterance, a.k.a. Dorothy Parker voice,
automatic tracing of intonational tune breaks down, as seen in figure 15
below (Beckman and Ayers, 1994). I avoid spoken samples that are dominated
by a creaky or breathy voice that cause computational tracking to break
down. Portrayal of voice quality is an important issue to identity and
recognition of an individual, although the current implementation of Prosodic
Font did not incorporate a visual interpretation.
2.2.2 Pitch Range
How does one represent pitch range computationally? Does pitch range start from the bottom of a speaker’s range and go higher, or does it start from the middle and deviate to higher or lower pitches? In trying to model pitch range computationally, Anderson, Pierrehumbert, and Liberman first conceived a reference line from which all High and Low accents are scaled (1984). No physical evidence has been found to confirm this, and in fact, there is more evidence that the pitch range should be understood as emanating from the bottom of the speaker’s range. Bruce explains that the lowest levels of fundamental frequency can be considered the base, and how pitch range can be scaled relative to this base:
F0-level 1 is considered to be the base level and is the true representative of the LOW pitch level [i.e. L tone]. The F0 movements can roughly be described as positive deviations...from this base level...In certain contexts the LOW pitch level will also be specified as F0-level 2 ( and occasionally as F0-level 3). The HIGH pitch level [i.e. H tone] can be specified as F0-level 2, 3, or 4, depending on the context. This means the F0-level 2 can represent both a HIGH and a LOW pitch level, which may seem paradoxical. But the pitch levels HIGH and LOW are to be conceived of as relative and contextually specified for each case as a particular F0-level (1977, p. 137).
Intonational contour targets and the continuum between them must be considered in a relative manner. An individual’s use of pitch in a temporally proximal (i.e. seconds and minutes), close (i.e. hours and days), and temporally longitudinal (i.e. months to years) fashion needs to be studied to understand the behavioral deviation that affective changes and interactional patterns create. Currently, intonation and pitch range are more an art form than a science. Developing a description of a speaker’s use of their voice over time would supply more appropriate graphic initialization and switching parameters for a Prosodic Font. This speaker model might also identify clear affective signals within the speaker’s voice and change the global representation of the Prosodic Font accordingly.
A speaker model would also help in converting vocal sound to proportions within the available graphical space. Understanding the limits of vocal parameters is important to making the font visible and well-placed within a display system. Prosodic Font is unable to predict a speaker’s pitch range prior to the speaker talking, or even across different emotions. Hence, it is possible that during intense mood swings, the font would be too large or too small to be visible. A speaker model would initialize all Prosodic Font parameters such that unreadable visualizations would not occur.
Using an individual’s Speaker Model, a look-up table of phonetic duration
distributions across speakers, and speech/prosody recognizers, a Prosodic
Font could identify the routine from the excited or depressed phonetic
sounds. Speech would be normalized against standardized averages. Routine
events such as declination, different phonetic duration, amplitudes and
energy levels would be regularized; the affective and discursive functions
of prosodic variation would be foreground visuals. Prosodic Font would
encode only the novel aspects of speech, the pure paralinguistic song and
These problems are not solvable by technology, but rather through re-definition
of the problem. A Prosodic Font could represent breath as a visual object,
transitioning from this representation of breath to a recognizable phoneme
much like a spoken utterance does. Not only would this permit more latitude
in the recognition process – not requiring all words to conform to existing
dictionary databases of word forms – but it would add a great deal to the
expression of a written message. Knowing when and how someone releases
the rest of their breath after an utterance is a sure clue to the tension
with which they said the words.
A Prosodic Font requires two things from a model of prosody:  a speaker
dependent representation, or stated differently, low-level dependence upon
the physical signal to maintain differences between contextualized, individualized
utterances, and  a theory to enable transforming the continuous signal
into discrete, larger features of interest.
Pierrehumbert’s work on characterizing the fundamental frequency in
a linear, relative manner is still the phonological state-of-the-art (1980).
She specifies a set of two simple intonational pitch accents, H* (a pitch
accent that first rises and then may fall) and L* (a pitch accent that
falls and then may rise), that account for the variation in intonational
contours with a simple dichotomy. Four additional complex accents, H*+L,
H+L*, L*+H, L+H* attempt to compensate for the temporal variability in
the placement of the accent in relation to the onset of the syllabic vowel.
Taylor asks whether finer distinctions need to be made within H* class
of intonational accents since over 69% of all accents found in spontaneous
speech are H* (Taylor, 1998). Taylor states that there is a need for a
model that allows a more refined understanding of H* pitch accents.
On the continuous, speaker dependent side are the researchers who attempt to describe the physical signals themselves in succinct manners. Fujisaki’s model is a layered model of the F0 contour, attempting to account for declination as an underlying phrasal phenomenon on top of which are seated the local affects of pitch accents. It is not clear how one derives the underlying phrasal representation and pitch accent model from spontaneous speech (1983). The Rise Fall Connection (RFC) and the more generalized TILT model fit Euclidean curves to intonational F0 changes. The RFC and TILT models also represent the duration and change in amplitude for each pitch accent event (Taylor, 1993; Taylor, 1998).
The TILT model is a refinement of the earlier RFC model; as such, I
will focus upon it alone. TILT is a phonetic model of intonation that classifies
continuous signals as two types of events, a TILT event (a numerical description
of the closest Euclidean shape of the pitch accent curve), or a Connection
event (the period in between pitch accents). TILT is speaker dependent,
and classes intonational events into two categories while maintaining fidelity
of the change in F0, duration and amplitude.
TILT generates a single number that represents the rise and fall of
a pitch accent. The continuous change in amplitude and the duration of
the event are represented similarly. The TILT value is complemented by
a fourth variable called syllabic position, the “distance between the peak
of the event (i.e. the boundary between the rise and fall) and the start
of the nucleus of the syllable that the event is associated with (the accented
syllable)” (Taylor, 1998, p.16). This alignment essentially serves the
same function as Pierrehumbert’s complex accents, by showing if the intonational
accent comes late or early within the duration of the accented syllable.
Prosodic variation is found within all languages. In a few languages, such as Cantonese or Yoruba, prosodic intonation takes on a highly formalized function, using distinct tone structures on the same morphemic item to indicate a different word item. Interestingly, non-linguistic prosody is nevertheless still present within tone languages, interacting with structured tones through the same physical signals. For Prosodic Font work, I am most interested in the paralinguistic use of prosodic variation; that is, all uses of prosody not associated with tones that function linguistically.
Dwight Bolinger, in his 1972 article, "Accent is predictable (if you're a mind reader)", argued against the 1968 Chomsky-Halle Nuclear Stress Rule that accounted for prosodic accent with syntactic structures, suggesting instead that although intonational accent marks information focus, neither syntax nor morphology can completely account for it. This argument has raged since, and many papers have been published continuing to account for prosody in terms of syntax and information structure. In a conversation with me, metrical phonologist Samuel J. Keyser expressed his belief that prosody and intonation are not linguistic features of language like the phonetic and morphemic systems. Prosody is “something else,” he said.
Why is it important to know the origins and use of prosody? Prosody
may be an innate function of song that we share with our avian sisters
and brothers, that gains an understood, communicative function as we learn
to participate within a certain language, community, and contexts. Hence,
by understanding the origins and contextualized uses of prosody, we are
better equipped to identify a feature set that is used in our context-specific
language as well as in the universal communication of affect.
Psychologists and anthropologists have studied children’s acquirement of diverse intonational contours. Usually they have relied only upon their ear to make intonational distinctions. The use of intonation by a Mandarin Chinese newborn was studied over a two year period (Clumeck, 1977). “M,” the infant, first used the rise-fall contour to indicate heightened interest, excitement, arousal; learning at one year the held-down and low-rise contours that consistently develop later in children (perhaps as a result of the “mother’s” use of a soothing low tone to calm?). It was not until two years had passed that “M” used a tone structure specific to the Mandarin Chinese tone language.
Affective use of prosody precedes the acquisition of linguistic tone. In a study testing the intentionality of prosodic accent, children five years old or less were able to produce utterances with natural-sounding accentual patterns, but had greater difficulty than children six years or older in interpreting utterances spoken by others with the same patterns (Cutler and Swinney, 1987). Children naturally and easily put accents on what is most interesting and exciting; their subjective reaction involves no necessary intention. Hence, the prosodic accents that adults often place on “new” rather than “given” lexical items can be traced back to an emotional, not grammatical, interest.
Some neurological studies point to the affective, not grammatical, function of intonation. When patients with right-hemisphere damage, the brain location theorized to be the center of emotion responses, were asked to form questions and statements, and happy and sad speech, they produced monotone speech in all cases (B. Shapiro and Danly, 1985). Similarly, right-hemisphere damaged patients had difficulty differentiating between sentences with different locations of pitch accent (Weintraub et al., 1981). Question and statement intonational contours, as well as pitch accent placement, often associated with speaker intention and grammatical function, may have an emotional derivation.
If prosodic intonation and accent derive from an emotional core common in all normal humans, why don’t we all speak in exactly the same manner? Picard points out that “...cultural, gender, personality, and dialect/speech group differences in addition to context, physiological changes, cognitive interpretation of the environment, social display rules of context, and a person’s history, values, attachment level and general emotional maturity” factor into the expression of emotion (1997, p. 37). Language varieties themselves allow different ways, kinds and amounts of emotional expression (see (Bolinger, 1989; Beckman, 1986; Ladd, 1996) for reviews of available cross-lingual prosodic studies).
Gender identification causes exaggerated prosodic effects that are not justified by the physiological difference between the average man and woman. Bolinger summarizes the results of research on the speech differences of men and women, “female speakers probably tend, more than men do, to (1) use a wider range including falsetto, (2) use inconclusive-i.e. rising terminal-endings, (3) favor reverse accents, and (4) increase the number of accents, hence profiles, in a given stretch of speech. Men tend to do the opposite, to which we can add (1) that they are more apt to drop into the lower register change, namely creak” (1989, p. 24).
Hearers use a speaker’s prosody to understand their emotional disposition
and intention in saying what they said. In the domain of ritual exchanges
and adjacency pairs, such as greetings, farewells, introductions, et cetera,
the emotional exchange value becomes particularly evident. Picard postulates
that (1) the fact that you make the greeting, and (2) how the greeting
is said, is more important than what is said (1997). I might hypothesize
further that these redundant Adjacency Pairs may have survived culturally
because of the evolutionary necessity of having a rapid method of conveying
It remains a mystery whether people recognize emotions categorically or in dimensional vector space. Scherer’s experimental results using a speech corpus in which meaning is obscured demonstrates the entanglement of this issue. He found that humans can on average recognize vocal affect with about 60% reliability: people can distinguish arousal (angry versus sad) but frequently confuse valence (angry versus enthusiastic) (1981). Prosodic Font does not seek to label speech as any particular type of emotion due to the inability in all but the simplest cases to infer emotional categories based upon vocal characteristics. Rather, Prosodic Font represents the system of vocal changes in graphical form, allowing the readers to infer emotional type and intensity.
Identifying the structure of talk and writing has been a focus of natural language generation and understanding efforts. Discourse theorists always appoint a central role for prosody in the segmentation of spoken discourse, yet the models differ substantially. Polanyi’s Linguistic Discourse Model uses semantic criteria, secondarily guided by prosodic and syntactic criteria, to segment natural language (1995). In Grosz and Sidner’s discourse model of attentional and intentional state (1986), prosodic accents mark the attentional status of discourse entities (Cahn, 1995; Grosz and Hirschberg, 1992; Nakatani, 1995), the intended syntactical focus of attention. In computational parsing of lengthy speech segments, emphasis detection – finding sections of increased energy and pitch rise that are negatively correlated with pausal durations – is believed to indicate structure (Arons, 1994; Hawley, 1993) or hierarchical topic structure (Grosz and Hirschberg, 1992; Stifleman, 1995).
Intonational accents appear to mark certain higher-level discourse functions within the temporal flow of syntactical structure. Much research has attempted to correlate accent type with particular discourse functions. Prosodic accent has been hypothesized to mark, amongst other things, emphasis (Halliday, 1967), contrast (Ladd, 1980), given and new information status (Brown, 1983; Terken, 1984), contrast of given entities (Terken and Hirschberg, 1994; Prevost and Steedman, 1996), and information structure (Cahn, 1995; Nakatani, 1996).
In Artificial Intelligence, researchers theorize that prosody factors
into the model of the speaker. Accent is hypothesized to mark the speaker’s
model of uncertainty (Ward and Hirschberg, 1985) and mutual belief developed
between the speaker and hearer through discourse (Pierrehumbert and Hirschberg,
1990). Researchers have suggested that entire intonational tunes denote
particular discourse and speech acts (Pierrehumbert and Hirschberg, 1990;
Wright and Taylor, 1997; Black, 1997).
Using a phonological and discourse interpretation of prosody in conjunction with speaker specific phonetics, Prosodic Font can communicate the syntactical, informational functions of prosody. Word pairs that are given contrastive prosody could index into a contrastive visual form. Likewise, words, when they are first introduced into the discourse, can be given slightly longer temporal delays and more visual prominence to assure that the reader sees them. However, this kind of automatic informational prosodic processing may prove unnecessary since speakers naturally perform these accents and rhythmic expansions, and Prosodic Font will mirror any evident vocal emphasis.
Typography is the design of graphic forms characters that comprise a language’s words. A letter is an abstract concept, such as the letters from a to z. When a letter assumes visual form it is called a glyph, the graphic that represents the letter. A set of glyphs that represent the alphabet is called a font. A font usually has a unifying visual style that distinguishes it from glyphs belonging to other fonts.
In the age of electronic production, a glyph has become as abstract a concept as a letter. Glyphs are defined algorithmically, using lines and curves that often change non-linearly as they scale to preserve their perceptual style when laser or off-set printed. And even more recently, fonts are being designed solely for use in electronic media, never requiring the glyph to assume a tangible form on paper or stone. These glyphs are drawn in light, ephemeral and fleeting.
In this exodus from tangible lead type to mathematical description, much has been inherited from previous ages. Stylistic genres, perceptual glyph design hints, and font measurement systems used in the design of tangible lead type are often accepted without question in current font designs. Yet the medium has changed so radically that heuristics that formerly defined typography – differences between abstract letters and tangible letterforms – are not sufficient. Beauty, style, form and measurement of font design requires re-evaluation in light of this new computational, temporal medium.
Following the lead of Professor Maeda, I ask what it means to design a font for a medium that exists in a state of computation and temporality. As such, I am not solely interested in judging Prosodic Font on aesthetic criteria reserved for static font forms. Rather, I see Prosodic Font as beginning to ask the questions that designers of future fonts – abstractly defined glyphs with algorithms of motion, transformation and interaction – will ask.
The Bauhaus school of design in the 1920s and early 1930s worked with
principles of objectivity and function. Bauhaus designers valued communication
of the message by using the simplest of elements. Programmers and mathematicians
today call the method of achieving this kind of goal “elegant.” Bauhaus
designers simplified typographic design from the previous decorative letterforms
of the Victorian era and the complex organic movement of Art Nouveau design.
They used sans serif forms, pared down to the necessary lines needed to
differentiate one letter from another (see figure 20 below). The letterforms
were often rendered in a two-dimensions with a single flat hue.
I believe that again a simplification of form based upon communication necessity is required to migrate typographic forms from static paper representations to computationally animated forms. This simplification may appear too spare and even ugly to people looking at the static glyph form because it does not adhere to aesthetic concepts of letter design we have inherited. However, a letterform that can internally transform its shape, weighting, width, height, curvature, color, et cetera through time is not going to have the same design technique as fonts designed for paper.
The following are possible criteria for judging the visual worthiness of a Prosodic Font: the beauty of a glyphs shape transformation over time; elegance of motion across a single glyph, syllable, and word; the unique interaction between particular glyphs during transformations and motion; a glyph’s manner of entrance onto and exit from the visual media; the sensitivity and responsiveness of the font to heterogeneous vocal parameters, and the sensitivity of a font to the display in which it is situated. The reader’s ability to feel the emotional thrust of the speaker through the Prosodic Font is not to be forgotten either.
To know history is to understand the present, said Winston Churchill.
I review the typographical history we have inherited: stylistic differences,
clues to creating a perceptually elegant font, and systems of measurement
to ensure balance and harmony.
so so so
On a computer, shapely lines such as pen would produce require far more
parameters than the geometric simplicity of the sans serif moderns. Furthermore,
the fine portions of the strokes often do not show to best advantage on
the rough resolution of a computer monitor. Likely, if these pen-based
strokes were animated, they would be more difficult to read than simple
geometric lines. Although there has been must research on reading perception
(Vygotsky, 1975; Gibson and Levin, 1975), there has been no research on
perception of glyphs that change shape over time.
A sophisticated grid system for proportioning the vertical space of
a font is well understood (see figure 23 below).
Horizontal proportions have not really developed, except as proportions related to the distance between the X height and Base Line of a glyph, usually 5:4, height to width. Changing any one of the grid proportions changes the way a font looks drastically. Prior to computers, a font was available in only a few standard sizes, the font proportions themselves were permanent and non-adjustable. In 1978, Professor Don Knuth began work on the METAFONT in conjunction with typographers Charles Bigelow and Kris Holmes. Matthew Carter, Zapf and Richard Southall also contributed. METAFONT is a program to render any font style, shape, and proportion by specifying brush shape, proportion and angle parameters (Knuth, 1986). This electronic work began to raise the question of the primary identity of a letterform: is it an equation representative of the lines, curves and thickness? Or is it an arrangement of primitive marks, each uniquely rendered?
Most recently, Adobe made a set of Multiple Master fonts which proportions designers can adjust, moving the point instance of the font through a graphic space of fifteen dimensions. A Multiple Master font can move from sans serif to serif instances with interpolations between any instance (Adobe Systems, 1998).
The attention to detail possible in these parameterized fonts is brilliant.
Yet, neither METAFONT nor Multiple Master fonts have taken the design world
by storm. Why? No one yet knows how to use the immense design freedom implicit
in these fonts. Fonts with continuous shape parameters have applications
that remain mysterious. Controlling by hand the sixty plus continuous parameters
in METAFONT can become tedious. There is a need for applications that automate
state changes of font parameters. Since speech also represents continuous,
sinuous change, we might map the signal characteristics of one onto the
shape parameters of the other. The design work in mapping speech to font
is primarily deciding which speech signal interpretations should be mapped
to which graphic parameters, in addition to assigning initialization values,
boundary values, and motion interpolations.
Now with a speech application in hand, it seems that METAFONT and Multiple Master glyph forms do not lend themselves adequately to speech representation. The METAFONT and Multiple Master glyphs are designed as a series of lines and curves and thickness, similar historical glyph lead carvings. Because they are not complex architectures of independent elements, it is extremely difficult to map speech parameters onto noticeably independent graphic parameters. They do not allow enough independent degrees of freedom. For example, one cannot change the vertical stem of a glyph (such as in the glyph t ) independently of its cross bar, because the two are dependent upon a single weight value. Nor can one continuously change the curvature of line in non-circular shape elements, such as the glyph l or i.
Although these typographic systems allow degrees of freedom never heretofore encountered, they do not re-define the nature of glyph design in light of how its architecture might transform. Defining glyphs to function in a temporal, transformational capacity might require a simplification and independence of shape parameters. Prosodic Font chose to represent letterforms as arrangements of very simple marks; each mark has tremendous transformational capacity by itself and in relationship to the entire glyph.
Designing for computational forms that involve temporality has added a complexity never before encountered in design. Ishizaki provides a taxonomy of form using basic units of phrase of some formal dimension, like a specific instance of color (1996). Each phrase has a particular temporal duration. Phrases combine together to make temporal forms. Ishizaki uses this theory in a multi-agent design solution. Wong defined Temporal Typography using Rapid Visual Serial Presentation (RSVP) to remove the necessity of eye movement during the reading event (1995). Rather, words are presented in rapid succession. In both Ishizaki’s and Wong’s design work, choice of typeface is included within possible formal dimensions of temporal design. They stop before dissecting the visual form of the glyph itself and animating its separate parts.
A Prosodic Font picks up at the point they left off to begin to describe
a design method for treating a glyph as an architectural structure, with
each part free to transform and move. Furthermore, Prosodic Font provides
a compelling method of automating the animation of these low level graphic
elements by mapping the temporal-spatial form of speech to the spatial-temporal
form of typography.
There were four problems with this approach. Using the text alignment scheme for horizontal stroke alignment proved to be messy. To draw a glyph, each stroke would have to be tested for its alignment, the array searched for how the other strokes were aligned, and then an arrangement constructed between them. A maximum of four glyphs also proved to be a problem. This did not allow enough detail to create the mixed characters such as t, f, g, nor the unfilled dot in i or j. Each stroke also requires additional specification unique to itself. For example, the open circle stroke, in order to form either a u or a c, needs to specify the degrees to be left open. A u is only a 180 degree curve while the c is perhaps 280 degrees. I also had difficulty transforming the rotation of the strokes and keeping them within the grid space. Note that I wrote Prosodic Font in a beta version of Java 1.2 to benefit from the vastly improved drawing model – an improvement upon PostScript – created through a partnership with Adobe (Sun, 1998). I believe that given more stable software, making Prosodic Font with four individualized strokes would work.
I went back to study the alphabet and emerged with a more elegant system.
The first principle of consecutiveness or simultaneity can be understood in the difference between the x and v glyphs. The x uses two slanted line strokes simultaneously while the v uses them consecutively. In historical typographic practice, the x glyph is not actually constructed of two crossing lines, but rather four lines that don’t meet precisely. This preserves a visual balance. Since Prosodic Font is inherently a font of motion and transformation, there is more of a need to maintain simplicity of construction rather than static visual harmony.
Some glyphs use exactly the same primitive strokes, but in a different consecutive order. The difference between b and d is based solely upon the consecutive order of the circle and line strokes. Consecutive relationships always move from left to right, similar to the linear order of reading. In the b, first the line stroke and then the circle stroke; vice-versa for the d. If four strokes are related through a consecutive relationship, they are drawn side-by-side, overlapping by the value of the current glyph weighting (or thickness). The consecutive rule can create a w as well as an x.
The second principle is one of dependency. Allowing strokes to have
dependent strokes allows the introduction of details such as the curve
on the f, t, and r; dots on the i and j; and even serif decorations (although
I did not consider them necessary at this point in Prosodic Font development).
Dependent strokes use the same graphic characteristics as their parent
stroke. In this way, a dependent stroke has the same weighting and motion
as its parent stroke, making the parent and dependent strokes appear visually
homogenous. Independent strokes can change in any transformation respect,
independent of all other strokes even within the same glyph. Motion latencies
between independent strokes are thus possible to introduce.
I introduced three new strokes into the system. These strokes are often dependent upon other strokes for parameters:  a dot for the line stroke;  a curved tail that connects at a North or South point to the line stroke, facing in a left or right direction; and  a cross bar (less weighted than a line stroke) that connects to either a line or an open circle stroke (see figure 27 below).
To the original four strokes I added slanted line strokes in order to have the ends of these lines lay square with the top and bottom constraints, unlike a rotated line would. I required one punctuation mark – the apostrophe – for the numerous contracted forms of words I encountered in the speech corpus.
The final Prosodic Glyph specification actually turned out to be much
more flexible as a creative design system than I would have suspected.
Numerous unique yet differentiable glyphs per letter are possible by using
this system even with its current spare implementation (see figure 28 showing
possible glyph variations for two letters). Note that proportions of each
glyph are continuously adjustable erstwhile maintaining glyph distinction.
Changes in weighting, transforms and color can be made on a per-stroke
basis (see figures 29 and 30).
Tests on the time and effort involved in reading transforming and moving
glyphs need to be performed. Even though the proportions of each stroke
– both horizontally and vertically - may be adjusted separately, this may
render the glyphs more unreadable even as it increases expressiveness.
Perception tests can begin to chart the outward limits of glyph expressiveness.
Limits and contextual appropriateness measures would then allow readability
to be massively compromised only for the purposes of extreme expressiveness.
For example, it is important that a Prosodic Font sign screaming, “FIRE!”
remain readable during events when prosodic variation and voice quality
My approach to developing a theory on prosody’s function, parameters,
range and description thereof is bottom up. I developed my own speech corpus,
labeled this speech both by hand and automatically (with the partnership
of researchers at University of Edinburgh), and developed my own theory
of how to use these parameters. I describe this process below.
From two hours of original recording, I chose two speakers from the
original seven, one male and one female, from whom to develop an emotional
corpus with speaker consistency. These two displayed the most interesting
speech variation across all four emotions. One is an amateur story-teller
with a well-honed sense of rhythm and cadence; the other seemed to actually
experience the emotion talked about in a fresh way, allowing emotion to
dominate the vocal expression. From their stories, I created a speech corpus
one minute and forty seconds long (see figure 32). The most difficult emotion
for these people to recreate was excitement; the easiest, anger.
She places 4sec.
Not working for my own 3sec.
Should Have 3sec.
I would like to clarify that the speech corpus I developed is not necessarily an “emotional” speech corpus. The people I spoke with were re-telling emotional experiences they had had; they were not experiencing them for the first time. Some people, perhaps those extroverts who had a greater flair for the dramatic, involved themselves in the stories they told me to a greater emotional extent. Secondly, the stories were often very long, involving multiple digressions and asides which had different emotional coloring independently of the larger story. I picked the corpus selections from the “heart” of the story that would appear to the careful listener to exhibit the particular emotional vocal characteristics.
To capture both of these needs, I used a combination of automatically
processed Tilt parameters which capture F0 phonology, and hand-labeled
speech events and boundaries which includes syllables, silence, and breaths
in this corpus, vocal color markings, and certain phonetic markings by
phonetic letter. I describe each of these units.
|Arise| – |Afall|
Drise – Dfall
tilt = -------------------------- + ----------------------
2(|Arise| + |Afall| 2(Drise + Dfall)
To synthesize an F0 contour from tilt parameters, first the rise and fall parameters of both amplitude (A) and duration (D) must be calculated, and then the F0 curve for each rise and fall portion can be reconstructed. Since a Tilt accent is but an abstraction of a Euclidean curve, each point along the curve needs to be scaled from the absolute F0 value from which the accent moves.
To calculate Amplitude and Duration for the Rising portion of the Accent:
To calculate Amplitude and Duration for the Falling portion of the Accent:
To calculate a specific F0 point in time using either Rise or Fall Amplitude and Duration:
The Tilt parameters appear in text form like the following excerpt from a file from my speech corpus (see figure 33). From left to right the numbers are: exact ending time in the speech file, a color specification used for viewing this file in Entropic’s xwaves software, event type, and the absolute F0 that begins the event. If the event type is an Accent, additional parameters are amplitude and duration of the event, and the tilt value.
I had success reconstructing an F0 curve using the Tilt parameters. It serves the purpose of permitting the reconstruction of a stylized F0 track, while eliminating the F0 anomalies associated with many phonetic events. Prosodic Font is then free to define average font size, starting positions, weighting, etc. based upon F0 averages.
I found that the Silence event type in the Tilt file is useless as a
phonological indicator. With few exceptions, the silences are the product
of an unvoiced phoneme, or an utterance spoken with a breathy quality.
When I used parameters from all Tilt event types, the words would disappear
at strange intervals during a phrase. The presence of words is more dependent
upon measures of amplitude, not F0. F0 serves as an indicator of emphasis,
motion, emotion, and focus, but not presence. If the Tilt system were to
be of more help in corresponding to actual phonological linguistic events,
it would have to couple with, at the very least, a measure of amplitude
during the syllable’s vowel sound. A speech recognizer could be coupled
with the Tilt system, and the recognizer alignments could control duration
of words and syllables.
The orthography of a Prosodic Font is a difficult compromise between
phonetics and English orthography, and phonetics and syllabification. To
handle words in which a number of letters are pronounced as a single phoneme,
I invented the notion of phonetic ligature. The most common phonetic ligature
is the ‘ng’ in any gerund verb form, such as “painting”. Prosodic Font
treats the letters joined by phonetic ligatures as a single letter and
applies visual effects accordingly.
Syllabification is even more difficult because people often eliminate entire syllables from their pronunciation of a word, especially when it is in an unaccented position. For example, in the Sunset audio file I encountered the word “ev-en-ing,” pronounced “eve-ning”. I chose to privilege the phonetic pronunciation of syllabic divisions. This rule did not extend to words in which certain letters were not pronounced. I never eliminated letters in order to preserve legibility. However, eliminating certain letters or using colloquial orthography should be experimented with since the color of more casual conversation would be more evident if letters could be eliminated if not spoken. In the best (or perhaps worst) of worlds, this would render written language as a Mark Twain novel renders colloquial conversation.
In addition to word pronunciation varying across repeat mentions, pronunciation of words are often foreign to their very orthographic realization. For example, the word “actually” is often pronounced as “akshly.” Which form of the word should a Prosodic Font serve? The danger in adhering to phonemic realization is that written language may become difficult to read, or even unreadable. Written language would become fragmented across speaker dialects. Yet, the excitement in adhering more closely to phonemic rather than orthographic realization is that written language would gain a color, individualism and novelistic appeal that it only currently realizes in places such as a Mark Twain novel. In a commercial release of Prosodic Font, a switch which would allow greater to lessor phonemic representation would be essential. Having control over the degree of phonemic to orthographic Prosodic Font representation would allow the font to be used in contexts that vary in formality.
In Prosodic Font, the orthography of the syllable speech event contains phonetic markings that apply to the succeeding letter. For example, if a person says “Argh!” with an initial glottalization and a forceful /g/ plosive phone, I would represent it as “&Ar#g_h” (the underscore represents a phonetic ligature). In this way particular letters within Prosodic Font can demonstrate greater force of pronunciation. The class of phonetic sounds marked include: glottals, lengthened phones, flaps, rigorous unvoiced and voiced plosives.
Although these phonetic marks are discrete rather than continuous variables,
they should include a notion of forcefulness. This would allow any and
every letter to experience an amount of phonetic influence. Continuous
levels of phonetic forcefulness are possible if the speech is normalized
against phonetic tables of pronunciation forms, given the position of the
phoneme within the phonetic stream.
I find the basic mapping relationships I created visually effective,
as I will explain below; however, the possibilities for expansion and abstraction
appear infinite. In a commercial Prosodic Font system, I would expect that
the consumer would choose mappings based partly upon their own expressive
preferences, a detailed speaker model of their voice range and expressiveness
and color developed automatically, and partly upon the prosodic font’s
algorithmic design flexibility and complexity.
In the figure below, I list the mapping relationships used in Prosodic
|Syllable Weight||F0 range|
|Syllable Height||F0 range|
|Syllable Width||F0 range|
|Syllable Translation (x, y )||F0 range during accent|
|Glyph Shake (rotation)||emphatic plosive phone|
|Glyph Transluscence||flap phone|
|Glyph Repetition||Lengthened phone|
Prosodic Font displays the visual speech data word by word, using timing constraints of the speech file. The word by word presentation style is modeled after the RSVP presentation style developed as a creative tool by designers in the VLW (Wong, 1995). Timing of syllables is accurate to the hundredths of a second from the speech data. We know that the timing of any syllable is dependent upon the physical motion necessary to form the phonemes. These phonetic dependencies do not appear to make a large difference in the relative changes of timing between words. Nevertheless, duration dependencies upon phonetics could be removed with additional speech processing and normalization. It may be necessary to further distort the duration scale of the Prosodic Font to account for the minimal duration needed for visual processing.
Even though a word is presented as a totality, many visual state changes occur at the syllable level. The syllable is the only measure of temporal duration, making a word the product of the number of syllables within it. Prosodic Font has an internal timer that moves the program state through the linear list of words, which are, in turn, linear lists of syllables. Within a word, the active syllable’s hue is tinted, while the inactive syllables are shaded (see figure 39 above). This serves to perceptually enlarge and highlight the temporal activity that moves through the body of a word. Potentially, visual effects would only be applied to the active syllable, making a word a collage constantly in process.
The model of making speech events visible yields an opportunity to render
artistically events such as inhalations and exhalations. People do not
just inhale air, sometimes they gulp, sometimes they minimize the influx
of air with tense muscles. Similarly, exhalation can be quick and forceful
or it can be a gentle (or exasperated!) sigh. These non-linguistic vocal
events are revealing of emotional state and should not be eliminated from
representation within a prosodic font. Prosodic Font does not have data
on breath forcefulness, amount of displaced air, et cetera; hence these
vocal events only have a duration. Prosodic Font simply represents an inhalation
as a circle that grows from the center of the screen outwards; an exhalation
is a large circle that shrinks.
The visual impression of the Prosodic Font actually varies considerably across sound files. For example, the recorded speech concerns an evening of great satisfaction, and the voice is breathy, low, soft and slow. The Prosodic Font produced undulates through the words like the ocean mentioned in the speech. In this satisfied speech, exhalations and inhalations rise up often and gently in between intonational phrases. In contrast, the excerpt from angry speech has extremely large changes in scale and shape, and does not fall into a flowing rhythm. Syllables punctuate the screen boldly, and the scale changes from very small to very large within a single syllable. Overall, the effect is engaging, and has even aroused some empathetic laughter identifying with the speaker. The fonts appear to have a life of their own.
While watching people take the user test, I had the opportunity to make some qualitative observations about the perception of Prosodic Fonts. I share these without qualification. Just as in speech generation, it is difficult to know what is normal. Recognizing a font as belonging within the domain of normality allows one to recognize when a font is angry or excited. There needs to be some background visual retention of a speaker model, lending each prosodic font utterance some visual context from which to be judged. This is not dissimilar to vocal prosody. Often we need time to acquaint ourselves with someone’s manner of speaking before understanding how they use intonational gestures. By establishing some visual markings – such as a visual “reference line” – to give any particular Prosodic Font a vocal context would aid in the interpretation of the speaker’s emotional state. This visual reference line could be as simple as a graphical box the size of a speaker’s normal vocal amplitude, and rendered in a style indicative of the speaker’s normal voice quality. Prosodic Font would play on top of this graphical box.
Graphically, it appears that the voice emanates from the alignment parameter given the Prosodic Font. For example, the examples made for the user tests were left aligned on the screen; hence, it appeared that the voice was speaking from the point of left alignment. This is important because any graphic effects created for vocal events such as breaths or coughs must also emanate from that point of speaker identification; otherwise it appears as if there are two speakers on screen, one breathing and one speaking.
Prosodic Font requires some method that enables individualized playback
speed control. During some Prosodic Font files, there are points at which
the spoken rhythm used is too fast or slow, or too precipitously sudden,
for the Prosodic Font to convey in a manner that could be read. This is
often the case during unaccented phrases, unimportant to the main point
of the sentence, which the speaker just brushes over. There may be a need
for a rhythm equalizer to ease sudden rhythmic transitions, and some persistence
of image during very fast segments to give the eye slightly more time to
After the training file, subjects see the three second angry file. They
are instructed to watch this file, then listen to three audio files, and
to choose one audio file that most closely resembled the expression evident
within the Prosodic Font. I placed no limit on the number of times subjects
might replay the audio or Prosodic Font files due to short term memory
constraints on temporally based material. They were also to circle the
emotion that most closely describes the emotion expressed within the Prosodic
Font file. They then repeated this process for the second Prosodic Font
The study showed that people can correctly match Prosodic Font systematic graphical variation with speech audio that demonstrates similar variation. In example one, seven of eleven subjects chose the correct audio file. All but one correctly identified the predominate emotion in the Prosodic Font as excitement. Higher success was achieved in the second example. Nine out of eleven subjects chose the correct audio file, and identified anger as the predominate emotion. I attribute the lower score in the first example to the propensity of the Prosodic Font file to demonstrate uneven rhythm during playback due to the demands made on the computer’s processing power. Often the Prosodic Font would slow down after repeated playing due to Java 1.2 vagaries. Correspondingly, three of the eleven subjects in example one chose the bored audio file which demonstrates a slower, more lethargic rhythm. Rhythmic correspondence of the Prosodic Font to vocal prosody is a key, if not primary, feature in peoples’ perception of sound to image relationship.
Observations made during the user study also showed that people have
a difficult time performing this exercise. Most people watched the Prosodic
Font file two or three times consecutively, listened to each of the audio
files, listened to each audio file again and watched the Prosodic Font
file each time. After this procedure they would make a decision. Although
the need to listen to the files repeatedly is probably an effect of temporal
memory constraints, it is also likely that this exercise tests a skill
that is not cultivated in current culture. Listening closely to musical
structure and how different instruments interact within a short musical
piece is not a common intellectual exercise. Few people have experience
in listening for musical relationships and how to make judgments about
Small studied different visual techniques of differentiating one voice from another in conversation using RSVP techniques (1996). He found that most people find prosodic representation within RSVP harder to read than a steady, rhythmic presentation of words. Small’s results cannot be extrapolated to natural language prosody due to his experimental use of a poem structured in iambic pentameter rhyming meter.
Ishizaki articulated a descriptive theory of temporal form—how the interaction of visual elements over time may be conceptualized— and demonstrated this theory with a multi-agent system that designs continuous visual solutions (1996). Ishizaki and his students at Carnegie Mellon University designed temporal typography with the stated intent of representing affective vocal prosody (1997). They used existing fonts and frame-based animation techniques. However, they did not formalize their observations and visual studies into a systematic theory, nor did they begin from the point of computational and algorithmic typographic design.
Sparacino designed a program called Media Creatures using real-time fundamental frequency and energy trackers to animate words (1996). However, she focused upon the behavioral performance of single words as actors rather than words within a continuous message, and has not moved from signals alone to any formal representation of prosody.
Cho’s bachelor’s thesis (1996) and subsequent typographic work such as Letter Dance; Type Me, Type Me Not (the winning entry to I.D. Magazine’s 1998 design contest); Typeractive, a 3D block design font; and Fore-font, a particle-based 3D font, has focused upon creating electronic glyph forms that support motion – even sinuous motion – transformation and texture. Cho’s innovative and lovely typographic work has been an inspiration to my own Object-Oriented font design. I would hope that artists such as Cho would be intrigued to create fonts for a prosodic font system.
For the San Francisco Exploratorium museum, artist Paul Demarinus created an exhibit that demonstrated how communicative the paralinguistic expression of prosody alone can be. Two people stand on facing sides of a screen and speak to each other as if in conversation. An electronic abstract display driven by their vocal expression is generated between them. In this way, only the paralinguistic functions of language is communicated, the linguistic functions removed. This is also an example of temporal vocal parameters driving a visual spatial display.
In traditional graphic design, Warren Lehrer designed an autobiography
of Boston-based story-teller Brother Blue that uses varieties of fonts,
sizes and types to create a spatial understanding of his vocal dynamics
and changes. The typography is surprisingly effective at allowing a reader
to hear a distinctive, unique voice and character while reading the autobiography.
This work was no small inspiration to me in thinking about Prosodic Font.
Higher level abstractions of amplitude, duration and F0 signals need to be created while maintaining the speaker dependency of the voice signal. Removing the physical pronunciation effects upon phone duration and vowel spectra from the signal would yield a more phonological understanding of speaker intent. Amplitude should be measured only during phonetic vowel events. Experiments with using just the highest amplitude achieved, the average amplitude across the vowel event, and the slope of amplitude should be experimented with. People may perceive the underlying rhythmic structure of an utterance, cognitively subtracting the known effects of pronunciation. Normalizing each phoneme against a phonetic distribution table that corrects for stressed and unstressed position would regularize the Prosodic Font rhythm. Combining phonetic normalization with a specific Speaker Model of their voice characteristics over time would refine this method, making the Prosodic Font highly expressive of an individual’s use of prosody.
Currently, only a few levels of visual effects have been applied using the speech parameters. Greater visual development at all levels of font design is necessary: localizing single phone changes to the glyph representation of the phone, localizing syllabic continuous parameter changes to that particular syllable rather than the entire word, and adding greater persistence to intonationally accented words.
Speech recognition programs should consider recognizing the complete paralinguistic to linguistic vocal continuity of a speaker’s utterances – not just discrete linguistic events. This would broaden the conception of speech recognition to include affective sounds such as sighs, breaths, laughs – sounds that are usually ignored. Accomplishing this would require that speech recognition move away from a strict adherence to dictionary orthographic forms. A combination of phonetic and orthographic linguistic forms would be used during speech recognition, inherently opening up opportunities for dialect representations of speech.
Automating the Prosodic Font speech parameter collection is obviously one of the largest future work agenda items. Replacing the manually generated portions of prosodic font with a speech recognizer, and integrating a real-time F0 tracker that classified accents (such as TILT does) and amplitude detectors, is a first priority. Currently, additional phonemes, such as flap or glottal, are labeled as discrete events because there is no good way of determining a phonetic pronunciation continuum. Creating an automatic phonetic classifier that identifies full and reduced vowel forms, plus unusually energetic consonantal sounds, on a continuous measurement scale would add a great deal of small detail and interest to each Prosodic Font glyph.
There is a need to develop a system that can both create and use a speaker model of prosodic variation. This model would allow any prosodic font message sent by the speaker to have a visual context created for the message, enabling readers to see what the speaker’s voice “looks” like normally. This would also enable a prosody recognizer to detect affective changes in the voice and change color schemes, font styles, and background.
Although Prosodic Font as described within this thesis uses only the RSVP method of word presentation, there are infinite graphic design potentials for a temporally based font. Experimenting with different levels of visual persistence within RSVP, movement of the word emanation point on the screen, spatially linear layout and three dimension presentations would begin to address the variety of design potentials. Designing with a time-based medium adds an entirely new repertoire to the field of design. Designing with a computational, unpredictable medium adds even greater potential.
Measures of vocal quality need to be compiled and normalized for real-time look-up purposes. These normalized measures of voice quality could be used in two ways for Prosodic Font:  to develop an individual speaker’s font design as differentiated from other speakers’, and  to differentiate affective vocal changes within the same speaker’s font design over time. I envision vocal quality measures to map well to font rasterization techniques and texture mapping, as well as color. For example, a breathy voice would blur the edges of the prosodic font to a greater or lessor degree, whereas a creaky voice would be illustrated through striations through the font texture.
Interfaces for creating Prosodic Font messages entirely by hand and
for choosing certain design preferences in an automated Prosodic Font system
are necessary. Graphic interface design work can be done on how to allow
a user to design a Prosodic Font message using a standard GUI approach.
The user would type a message and then add prosodic contours and accents
to the orthographic message that would automatically transform it into
a Prosodic Font message. Automatic speech and prosody generation techniques
could provide a backbone for a prosodic interpretation of the typed message;
the user could add expression to this automated intonational curve. Prosodic
Font GUI could include emotional templates that users could apply to certain
messages, sentences, phrases and words.
Format of file is as follows: End Time; SPSS color; Event Number; Event Type; tilt: Start F0;
If a type of Accent ( a, m, l, fb, afb ) then also: Amplitude; Duration;
Tilt Value; 0.0;
A separator ;
0.11000 26 1; sil; tilt: 0.000
0.16000 26 2; c; tilt: 134.422
0.30000 26 3; a; tilt: 134.976 19.169 0.140 1.000 0.000
0.50000 26 4; sil; tilt: 154.145
0.84000 26 5; c; tilt: 132.968
1.01000 26 6; sil; tilt: 120.036
1.22000 26 7; a; tilt: 106.109 5.506 0.210 -0.899 0.000
1.26000 26 8; c; tilt: 100.664
2.28000 26 9; sil; tilt: 100.428
2.52000 26 10; c; tilt: 113.378
2.69000 26 11; sil; tilt: 106.170
2.79000 26 12; afb; tilt: 94.184 6.177 0.100 -0.900 0.000
2.82000 26 13; c; tilt: 88.011
3.40000 26 14; sil; tilt: 86.932
3.46000 26 15; c; tilt: 95.878
3.63000 26 16; sil; tilt: 95.878
3.75000 26 17; a; tilt: 89.449 2.529 0.120 -0.119 0.000
3.80000 26 18; fb; tilt: 88.847 0.000 0.050 -0.500 0.000
3.82000 26 19; c; tilt: 87.095
5.20000 26 20; sil; tilt: 87.095
5.45000 26 21; c; tilt: 117.768
6.19000 26 22; sil; tilt: 113.146
6.53000 26 23; c; tilt: 115.036
7.13000 26 24; sil; tilt: 98.111
7.28000 26 25; a; tilt: 133.516 8.814 0.150 0.933 0.000
7.71000 26 26; sil; tilt: 142.330
7.93000 26 27; c; tilt: 109.835
8.66000 26 28; sil; tilt: 108.021
9.16000 26 29; a; tilt: 150.066 58.234 0.500 -0.816 0.000
9.90001 26 30; sil; tilt: 96.924
10.08001 26 31; a; tilt: 137.238 9.433 0.180 -0.869 0.000
10.14001 26 32; c; tilt: 128.182
10.28001 26 33; sil; tilt: 122.957
10.36001 26 34; c; tilt: 87.913
10.45001 26 35; sil; tilt: 88.047
10.60001 26 36; c; tilt: 111.156
10.80001 26 37; sil; tilt: 104.403
10.82001 26 38; c; tilt: 104.143
10.97001 26 39; fb; tilt: 104.161 1.325 0.150 0.643 0.000
11.93001 26 40; sil; tilt: 105.247
12.23001 26 41; c; tilt: 101.124
12.62001 26 42; sil; tilt: 97.620
12.77001 26 43; a; tilt: 114.543 0.000 0.150 -0.500 0.000
12.83001 26 44; c; tilt: 95.027
14.70001 26 45; sil; tilt: 93.767
15.03001 26 46; c; tilt: 126.307
15.70001 26 47; sil; tilt: 110.208
15.72001 26 48; c; tilt: 128.546
15.87001 26 49; a; tilt: 128.860 4.058 0.150 0.163 0.000
15.89001 26 50; c; tilt: 129.373
16.31001 26 51; sil; tilt: 129.373
16.44001 26 52; c; tilt: 129.901
16.80001 26 53; a; tilt: 121.205 20.870 0.360 0.065 0.000
16.94001 26 54; sil; tilt: 119.265
17.00001 26 55; c; tilt: 95.471
17.17001 26 56; sil; tilt: 95.471
17.20001 26 57; c; tilt: 100.269
17.36001 26 58; a; tilt: 100.135 0.000 0.160 -0.500 0.000
17.38001 26 59; c; tilt: 91.129
17.42001 26 60; fb; tilt: 90.261 0.000 0.040 -0.500 0.000
18.83001 26 61; sil; tilt: 88.885
18.90501 26 62; a; tilt: 96.423 2.336 0.075 -1.000 0.000
19.04001 26 63; fb; tilt: 94.087 1.777 0.135 -0.092 0.000
19.12001 26 64; c; tilt: 84.437
20.47001 26 65; sil; tilt: 80.580
20.52001 26 66; c; tilt: 97.462
20.67001 26 67; a; tilt: 97.704 1.667 0.150 1.000 0.000
20.87001 26 68; sil; tilt: 99.371
21.01001 26 69; c; tilt: 91.404
21.39001 26 70; sil; tilt: 87.657
21.52001 26 71; a; tilt: 97.259 0.304 0.130 0.165 0.000
21.54001 26 72; c; tilt: 97.289
22.22001 26 73; sil; tilt: 97.289
22.33001 26 74; c; tilt: 117.558
22.45001 26 75; sil; tilt: 117.153
22.63001 26 76; a; tilt: 111.266 7.415 0.180 0.033 0.000
22.68001 26 77; c; tilt: 114.225
22.86001 26 78; sil; tilt: 114.552
23.01001 26 79; c; tilt: 118.458
23.08001 26 80; sil; tilt: 114.883
23.22001 26 81; afb; tilt: 90.789 1.133 0.140 0.585 0.000
23.24001 26 82; c; tilt: 91.791
24.56001 26 83; sil; tilt: 91.791
24.73001 26 84; afb; tilt: 97.041 13.343 0.170 -1.000 0.000
25.82001 26 85; sil; tilt: 83.698
25.93001 26 86; a; tilt: 110.098 0.859 0.110 -0.183 0.000
25.95001 26 87; c; tilt: 109.860
27.12001 26 88; sil; tilt: 109.860
27.31001 26 89; afb; tilt: 95.015 12.426 0.190 -1.000 0.000
27.33002 26 90; c; tilt: 82.589
27.90000 26 91; sil; tilt: 82.589
Vocal Quality Types:
Key to Phonetic Constants within Syllable Vocal Events:
File format as follows: VocalEvent; End Time; Amplitude;
Tilt Accent; Vocal Quality;
<sil> 0.11; 0; ;
t_his; 0.45; 2400; 3;
ev/ 0.63; 2400; ;
enin_g; 0.84; 2400; ;
h:ad; 1.34; 1250; 7;
<sil> 1.38; 0; ;
<inhale> 1.56; 50; ;
<sil> 1.62; 0; ;
t_he; 1.73; 1500; ;
<sil> 1.77; 0; ;
touc_h; 2.05; 2500; ; <breathy>
of; 2.12; 2300; ;
some; 2.34; 1300; ; <breathy>
one's; 2.60; 1600; ;
hand; 3.07; 900; 12;
<sil> 3.19; 0; ;
w_hic_h; 3.40; 1200; ;
was; 3.55; 750; ;
won/ 3.79; 250; 17;
der/ 3.92; 250; 18;
ful; 4.18; 250; ; <creak>
<sil> 4.25; 0; ;
<inhale> 5.05; 50; ;
<sil> 5.14; 0; ;
t_he; 5.49; 1750; ;
<sil> 6.15; 0; ;
t_he; 6.57; 1500; ;
<sil> 6.76; 0; ;
:si&gh*t; 7.51; 4000; 25;
<sil> 7.66; 0; ;
of; 8.06; 1250; ; <breathy>
t_his; 4.81; 400; ; <breathy>
h:uge; 9.40; 2400; 29; <breathy>
<sil> 9.77; 0; ;
beau/ 10.08; 1750; 31;
^ti/ 10.14; 1200; ;
ful; 10.45; 1000; ;
red; 10.60; 900; ;
sun/ 10.97; 1100; 39;
set; 11.24; 600; ;
<sil> 11.27; 0; ;
<inhale> 11.66; 50; ;
<sil> 11.76; 0; ;
se^t_t/ 11.93; 1700; ;
in_g; 12.30; 800; ;
<sil> 12.58; 0; ;
o/ 12.77; 1450; 43;
ver; 12.83; 750; ;
t_he; 12.92; 250; ;
Pa/ 12.97; 250; ;
ci/ 13.20; 1000; ;
fic; 13.35; 750; ;
o/ 13.47; 900; ;
cean; 13.76; 450; ;
<sil> 13.87; 0; ;
<inhale> 14.44; 50; ;
<sil> 14.64; 0; ;
and; 15.03; 1850; ; <breathy>
t_his; 15.30; 1000; ; <breathy>
<sil> 15.35; 0; ;
*c:on/ 15.87; 1900; 49;
stant; 16.31; 1600; ;
:won/ 16.74; 2500; 53;
der/ 16.80; 2100; ;
ful; 17.00; 1500; ;
:sound; 17.36; 900; 58;
sound; 18.83; 900; 60;
of; 17.53; 400; ;
t_he; 17.60; 450; ;
surf; 18.14; 750; ;
<sil> 18.17; 0; ;
<inhale> 18.69; 50; ;
com/ 18.83; 600; ;
in_g; 18.98; 500; 62;
in; 19.42; 500; 63;
<sil> 19.63; 0; ;
<inhale> 20.08; 50; ;
<sil> 20.22; 0; ;
just; 20.35; 800; ;
was_h/ 20.84; 1250; 67; <breathy>
in_g; 20.94; 1200; ;
up; 20.09; 950; ;
<sil> 21.12; 0; ;
con/ 21.54; 750; 71;
stant/ 21.77; 600; ;
ly; 22.03; 250; ;
<sil> 22.14; 0; ;
an^d; 22.24; 750; ;
it; 22.40; 1100; ;
ne/ 22.54; 1250; 76;
ver; 22.71; 1100; ;
<sil> 22.73; 0; ;
turns; 23.02; 1150; ;
of_f; 23.48; 900; 81;
<inhale> 23.76; 50; ;
<sil> 23.84; 0; ;
i^t; 23.96; 1250; ;
<sil> 24.05; 0; ;
does/ 24.21; 1750; ;
n't; 24.33; 1750; ;
cras_h; 25.07; 500; 84;
<inhale> 25.35; 50; ;
<sil> 25.42; 0; ;
it's; 25.65; 500; ;
<sil> 25.71; 0; ;
just; 26.22; 1500; 86;
<sil> 27.00; 0; ;
t_here; 27.60; 1400; 89;
<sil> 27.90; 0; ;
a; CIRCLE_O: ; VERTICAL_LINE: X_HEIGHT BASE_LINE;
b; VERTICAL_LINE: ASC_HEIGHT BASE_LINE; CIRCLE_O: ;
c; CEE: ;
d; CIRCLE_O: ; VERTICAL_LINE: ASC_HEIGHT BASE_LINE;
e; CEE: ; FORWARD_SLASH: X_HEIGHT BASE_LINE MEDIUM;
f; VERTICAL_LINE: ASC_HEIGHT BASE_LINE CROSS_BAR THIN CURVE_TAIL TOP RIGHT THIN;
g; CIRCLE_O: ; VERTICAL_LINE: X_HEIGHT DESC_DEPTH CURVE_TAIL BOT LEFT MEDIUM;
h; VERTICAL_LINE: ASC_HEIGHT BASE_LINE; HORSESHOE: DOWN MEDIUM;
i; VERTICAL_LINE: X_HEIGHT BASE_LINE DOT;
j; VERTICAL_LINE: X_HEIGHT DESC_DEPTH DOT CURVE_TAIL BOT LEFT THIN;
k; VERTICAL_LINE: ASC_HEIGHT BASE_LINE; FORWARD_SLASH: X_HEIGHT CENTER_HEIGHT THIN; BACK_SLASH: CENTER_HEIGHT BASE_LINE THIN;
l; VERTICAL_LINE: ASC_HEIGHT BASE_LINE;
m; VERTICAL_LINE: X_HEIGHT BASE_LINE; HORSESHOE: DOWN THIN; HORSESHOE: DOWN THIN;
n; VERTICAL_LINE: X_HEIGHT BASE_LINE; HORSESHOE: DOWN MEDIUM;
o; CIRCLE_O: ;
p; VERTICAL_LINE: X_HEIGHT DESC_DEPTH; CIRCLE_O: ;
q; CIRCLE_O: ; VERTICAL_LINE: X_HEIGHT DESC_DEPTH;
r; VERTICAL_LINE: X_HEIGHT BASE_LINE CURVE_TAIL TOP RIGHT THIN;
s; SNAKE: ;
t; VERTICAL_LINE: ASC_HEIGHT BASE_LINE CROSS_BAR THIN;
u; HORSESHOE: UP MEDIUM; VERTICAL_LINE: X_HEIGHT BASE_LINE;
v; VEE: X_HEIGHT BASE_LINE MEDIUM false;
w; BACK_SLASH: X_HEIGHT BASE_LINE THIN; FORWARD_SLASH: X_HEIGHT BASE_LINE THIN; BACK_SLASH: X_HEIGHT BASE_LINE THIN; FORWARD_SLASH: X_HEIGHT BASE_LINE THIN;
x; FORWARD_SLASH: X_HEIGHT BASE_LINE MEDIUM; BACK_SLASH: X_HEIGHT BASE_LINE MEDIUM;
y; BACK_SLASH: X_HEIGHT BASE_LINE THIN; FORWARD_SLASH: X_HEIGHT DESC_DEPTH MEDIUM;
z; ZEE: ;
'; HYPHEN: ;
tt; VERTICAL_LINE: ASC_HEIGHT BASE_LINE CROSS_BAR THIN; VERTICAL_LINE: ASC_HEIGHT BASE_LINE CROSS_BAR THIN;
Note: In this implementation, Simultaneity is not defined in the font
specification, but rather in the code.
EXAMPLE ONE: “Oh wow she placed wow that’s amazing”
EXAMPLE TWO: “I’m not working for my own education here”
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