Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. James M. Hillenbrand

Second Advisor

Dr. John M. Hanley

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael J. Clark

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This investigation was a replication and extension of Peterson and Barney’s (1952) research on the acoustics and perception of vowels. This study explored the acoustic characteristics of 12 vowels produced by 50 men, 50 women and 41 children. Speech samples were tape recorded as subjects read lists of words and isolated vowels. Speech samples were digitized. Speech waveforms, spectrograms and formant frequencies were examined and measured.

The average formant frequency values were similar but not identical to the values reported by Peterson and Barney (1952). The largest discrepancy between the two studies was the degree of overlap among vowel categories, which was much larger in the present study.