Aktuelle Forschungsprojekte

Akustische und artikulatorische Aspekte des Geschlechts im Deutschen (DFG SI 743/6-1,2 Laufzeit: August 2011 - November 2014)

Studies over the last 50 years have repeatedly shown there to be a number of acoustic and temporal differences between female and male voices that can't merely be explained by anatomical differences such as vocal tract size or vocal fold length. While we know that many differences have a social component, i.e. they are learned behaviours, it is still unclear which aspects may have a biophysical origin. Non-uniform differences between male and female acoustic vowel spaces, as well as systematic differences in male and female sound durations are just two such areas. Using a series of articulatory and acoustic analyses together with listening experiments, this project is attempting to tease apart some of the socially acquired patterns from the biologically inevitable.

(M. Weirich & A. Simpson)


  • Weirich, M., Fuchs, S., Simpson, A., Winkler, R. & Perrier, P. (2016) Mumbling: macho or morphology? Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research.
  • Weirich, M. & Simpson, A.P. (2015) Impact and interaction of accent realization and speaker's sex on vowel length in German. In: A. Leemann, M.-J. Kolly, S. Schmid & V. Dellwo (eds.), Trends in Phonetics and Phonology in German speaking Europe. Frankfurt/M.: Peter Lang.
  • Weirich, M. & Simpson, A.P. (2014) Articulatory vowel spaces of male and female speakers. Proceedings of the 10th Intern. Seminar on Speech Production (ISSP), Cologne, 453-456.
  • Weirich, M., Simpson, A.P., Fuchs, S., Winkler, R. & Perrier, P. (2014) Mumbling is morphology? Proceedings of the 10th Intern. Seminar on Speech Production (ISSP), Cologne, 457-460.
  • Weirich, M. & Simpson, A. (2014) Differences in acoustic vowel space and the perception of speech tempo. Journal of Phonetics 43.1-10. [link]
  • Weirich, M. & Simpson, A. (2013) Investigating the relationship between average speaker fundamental frequency and acoustic vowel space size. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 134 (4), 2965-2974. [link]
  • Weirich, M. & Simpson, A. (2013) Acoustic vowel space size and perceived speech tempo. Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics (POMA). [pdf]
  • Weirich, M. & Simpson (2012). Perceived speech tempo and vowel space size, P&P8, FSU Jena. [pdf]
  • Weirich, M. & Simpson (2012). Listening tongues, Weirich, M. & Simpson, A. P&P8, FSU Jena. [pdf]
  • Simpson, A. P. (2012). The first and second harmonics should not be used to measure breathiness in male and female voices. Journal of Phonetics 40, 477-490.
  • Simpson, A. P. (2011). Is there a relationship between acoustic vowel space size and fundamental frequency?  Proceedings of XVIIth ICPhS, pp. 1854-1857, Hong Kong.


Interactions of visual and auditory information in social perception related to gender and ethnicity

Research in this project tests social perception, categorization, and impression formation related to gender and ethnicity, using complex and ecologically valid stimuli that go beyond the presentation of labels or photographs only. The first aim is to follow up on key findings from the first funding period. Series of experiments will test with experimental paradigms, supplemented by ERPs, the conditions under which expectancy violations determine impressions of speakers with dialects or foreign accents. The second aim is based on the idea that changeable information may be diagnostic and thus used for social categorization when crossed with ethnicity and gender information (e.g., wearing headscarves or ethnically-associated hats; powerful/powerless speech). The third aim represents an extension of our current work to a new area. In a cooperation between psychology and phonetics, we will critically examine the finding that information about individuals' sexual orientation is manifest in phonetic speech characteristics. The relevant speech markers in German speech will be extracted (which will be an extension of existing findings from Anglo-Saxon speakers); they will be related to variables pertaining to speakers' gender role orientation and respective social-group identification; and to the perception of sexual orientation in voices and voice-face stimuli. The ultimate aim of this project in relation to the entire Research Unit is contributing to the elaboration of person perception models with regard to the early integration of social-category information from different modalities. 

(M.C. Steffens, T.Rakíc, and A.P. Simpson)

The STOP-IT-Study (Deutsches Register Klinischer Studien DRKL00006333)

Speech Therapy of Parkinson's Disease by Interpreting Texts: The STOP-IT-Study Deutsches Register Klinischer Studien: Nr. DRKS00006333 und WHO Suchportal http://apps.who.int/trialsearch/

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurological disorder which impairs all aspects of speech and voice resulting in hypophonic dysarthria in more than 80% of patients. The loss of intelligibility considerably impacts on activities of daily life and thereby also on the desire to communicate.

Patients with advanced PD and dysarthria were included into a randomized controlled study investigating whether different concepts of interpreting texts can be applied to improve intelligibility and communication-related quality of life.

For this purpose patients received either two weeks of a daily treatment with focus on phonation, respiration, articulation and prosody (articulation-based speech therapy) or two weeks of a daily treatment following fundamentals of oral interpretation and performance (performance-based speech therapy). Different assessment methods of intelligibility such as word identification (e.g. Munich Intelligibility Profile (MVP)), transcription and scaling techniques (e.g. National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) -scale) were used. Additionally, acoustic parameters were measured. Both analyses were conducted on syllable, word and sentence level as well as in read and spontaneous speech. Scores were taken before and immediately after treatment, and also after three months.

Based on the assumption that there are perceived enhancements in all data from the later measurement points, we expect two essential findings: (1) better intelligibility valuations correlating with acoustic changes such as in vowel space area and changes in variance of sound pressure level, and (2) changes to the patient's self-perception (assessed by Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), Parkinson's Disease Questionnaire (PDQ) and Voice Handicap Index (VHI)).

B. Redecker1, S. Neuhauser1, A.P. Simpson1, C. Redecker2

(1Professur für Sprechwissenschaft, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena | 2Klinik für Neurologie, Universitätsklinikum Jena)


  • B. Redecker, S. Neuhauser, A. Tödter, A.P. Simpson, C. Redecker: Textinterpretation in der Stimm- und Sprechtherapie von Patienten mit fortgeschrittenem idiopathischem Parkinson-Syndrom: eine kontrollierte randomisierte Pilotstudie. (Poster, 9. Deutscher Parkinson Kongress, 16.-18.04.2015, Berlin)
  • B. Redecker, S. Neuhauser, A.P. Simpson, C. Redecker (2014): Beurteilung von Verständlichkeit und Akustische Veränderungen bei Patienten mit fortgeschrittenem idiopathischem Parkinsonsyndrom: Evaluation zweier Trainingskonzepte. (Poster, P&P10, 09.-10.10.2014, Konstanz)
  • B. Redecker, S. Neuhauser, A.P. Simpson und C. Redecker (2014): Speech and voice treatment with literary texts in advanced Parkinson's disease patients: Assessment of intelligibility and acoustic changes. (Poster, 18th International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders, 08.-12.06.2014, Stockholm, Schweden)
  • Redecker, B., S. Neuhauser, A.P. Simpson und C. Redecker (2014) Speech and voice treatment with literary texts in advanced Parkinson's disease patients: Assessment of intelligibility and acoustic changes. Movement Disord 29, p 169-170.
  • B. Redecker, S. Neuhauser, A.P. Simpson, C. Redecker (2014): Assessing intelligibility and acoustic changes in individuals with advanced Parkinson's disease: a pre-/post-treatment study. (Poster, 15th International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association Conference, 11.-13.6.2014, Stockholm)

Akustisch-phonetische Variabilität in kind- und erwachsenen-gerichteter Sprache bei Eltern während der frühkindlichen Erziehung (AVarE) - DFG WE 5757

Wie lernen Babys eigentlich das Sprechen?

Diese Frage beschäftigt Sprachforscher und Philosophen seit Jahrhunderten und ist dennoch immer noch aktuell. Unser Forschungsprojekt nähert sich der Fragestellung durch die Untersuchung der Sprache von jungen Müttern und Vätern, einer wichtigen Ressource für die Sprachentwicklung des Kindes.      

Das Projekt wird durch die Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft finanziert (DFG WE5757, Projektleiterin  Dr. Melanie Weirich) und läuft von 2016 - 2019.

Daten werden in Jena und in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Språkstudion (Stockolms universitet, Dr. Christine Ericsdotter Nordgren und Jasmine Öjbro) in Stockholm gesammelt.
 Vater mit Baby                                        


Weirich, M. & Simpson, A. (2016) Changes in IDS and ADS during parental leave - project sketch and first results of pilot studies. Proceedings of the 12th meeting on "Phonetik und Phonologie im deutschsprachigen Raum" (P&P12), Munich, 224-227. [pdf]

Weirich, M. & Simpson,  A. (2017) Acoustic correlates of parental role and gender identity in the speech of expecting parents, Interspeech, Stockholm, 924-928. [pdf]

Möchten Sie teilnehmen?

Für die Teilnahme am Projekt suchen wir noch WERDENDE Mütter und Väter im Raum Jena, die ihr ERSTES Kind erwarten!

Bei Interesse bitte bei melden!

Für die Sprachaufnahmen kommen wir zu Ihnen nach Hause.
Aufnahmen (Bildbeschreibungen und ein Lesetext) werden einmal vor der Geburt des Kindes und dreimal im Laufe des ersten Lebensjahres gemacht.
Der zeitliche Aufwand beträgt pro Treffen ca 1- 1,5 Stunden.

Für die Teilnahme an der Studie gibt es eine Aufwandsentschädigung von 160 Euro.
Sie sollten Deutsch als Muttersprache haben und keine bekannten Sprach- oder Hörprobleme aufweisen.         

Wir freuen uns auf Sie!              

Melanie Weirich1, Adrian P. Simpson1 Fabienne Neder1, Christine Ericsdotter Nordgren2, Jasmine Öjbro2

(1Professur für Sprechwissenschaft, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena | 2Språkstudion, Stockholms universitet)