Acoustic and articulatory qualities of smiled speech


  • Megan Keough University of British Columbia
  • Avery Ozburn University of British Columbia
  • Elise Kedersha McClay University of British Columbia
  • Michael David Schwan University of British Columbia
  • Murray Schellenberg University of British Columbia
  • Samuel Akinbo University of British Columbia
  • Bryan Gick <p>University of British Columbia</p><p>Haskins Laboratories</p>


Studies on smiled speech have shown that listeners can easily identify speech that was produced while smiling based solely on the acoustic signal (c.f. Tartter, 1980; Quené, Semin, & Foroni 2012; Quené & Schuerman 2012; Torre, 2014). In general, these studies have primarily focused on the acoustic and perceptual effects of smiling on speech; surprisingly little work has been done on the ways in which smiling while talking affects speech articulations, and how those articulatory changes map onto the acoustic differences. The current study aims to address this gap through a production experiment examining both the articulation and acoustics of vowels in smiled versus non-smiled speech.

The experiment examined the effect of smiling on formant values, lip spreading, lip protrusion, lip angle, and larynx height in the production of vowels by 10 native English speakers. Facial movement and positioning were measured following Fagel (2010), using dots on participants’ faces, and larynx height was measured with laryngeal ultrasound following Moisik and colleagues (Moisik, Esling, Bird, & Lin 2011; Moisik & Esling, 2011; Moisik, Lin, & Esling, 2014). We hypothesized that smiled speech, in comparison to neutral speech, would be characterised by a higher F0, higher formant frequencies, a raised larynx, and spread lips with corners turned up in a typical "smiling configuration".

Preliminary results show that smiling is indeed characterized by higher F0 and lips spread with corners turned up. However, formant frequencies were only significantly different in smiled speech for /?/, not for /u/ or /i/. Further, larynx height was not significantly different between smiled and neutral speech, despite the differences in F0. Implications to the theory of smiled speech will be discussed.




How to Cite

Keough M, Ozburn A, McClay EK, Schwan MD, Schellenberg M, Akinbo S, Gick B. Acoustic and articulatory qualities of smiled speech. Canadian Acoustics [Internet]. 2015 Sep. 8 [cited 2021 Dec. 3];43(3). Available from:



Proceedings of the Acoustics Week in Canada

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