Spectral Moments to Describe Fricative Emergence of French-Quebec Children


  • Carolina Salinas-Marchant University of Montreal
  • Geneviève Meloni University of Montreal
  • Andrea A.N. MacLeod University of Montreal



In the study of fricatives, various acoustic measurements have been described to objectify the classification of these consonants. One of the measures most used is the analysis of spectral moments. There are four spectral moments used to describe these patterns: center of gravity, standard deviation, skewness and kurtosis. The acquisition of fricative consonants is well documented in English-speaking children. However, studies conducted in languages other than English, such as Japanese, have revealed differences in the order of acquisition of these consonants. These differences would indicate that some phonological development trends are specific to each language and, consequently, the English data may not be sufficiently sensitive to evaluate the phonological development of non-English-speaking children. In this study, we aim to obtain acoustic measurements that describe the phonetic-phonological development of fricative consonants in French from Quebec.


This cross-sectional study is developed on the data of 47 children, from Quebec City. The children's productions of the fricatives were obtained through a picture naming task. The observations were labelled and transcribed phonetically, with a double entry of 10% of the corpus.


The analysis by mixed models show an effect of the point of articulation on the center of gravity and on the duration. The analyses showed an effect of the point of articulation on the standard deviation. An effect of the voiceless on the center of gravity and on the duration is also observed. Finally, there is an effect of age on duration.


Preliminary results indicate that the center of gravity is the most robust spectral moment to classify the fricative consonants of preschool children, which coincides with previous literature. On the other hand, duration, a measure often described as secondary, appears to be a relevant indicator for the classification of fricative consonants of francophones children of Quebec.

Author Biographies

Carolina Salinas-Marchant, University of Montreal

PhD Student

Geneviève Meloni, University of Montreal

PhD Student

Andrea A.N. MacLeod, University of Montreal

I am an associate professor at Université de Montréal and a researcher at the CHU Ste-Justine in Montreal.

Additional Files



How to Cite

Salinas-Marchant C, Meloni G, MacLeod AA. Spectral Moments to Describe Fricative Emergence of French-Quebec Children. Canadian Acoustics [Internet]. 2019 Oct. 16 [cited 2024 Jun. 22];47(3):92-3. Available from: https://jcaa.caa-aca.ca/index.php/jcaa/article/view/3326



Proceedings of the Acoustics Week in Canada