Quantifying Vowel Space Using Recordings of the IPA Vowels by Robert G. Shackleton, Jr.

This study analyzes multiple recordings of the IPA vowels by different experts, and uses distance measures between the cochleagrams of the recordings to develop characterizations of vowel space. Applying multidimensional scaling (MDS) to distance measures results in a useful projection of vowel space in three dimensions that appear largely consistent with the traditional dimensions of height, fronting, and rounding. Applying principal component analysis (PCA) yields less consistent results but, in contrast to MDS, may provide a standard that can be extended to any new recording. The results may therefore yield an improved metric for characterizing both impressionistic and acoustic recordings of dialect data.