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Multidimensional acoustic-phonetic analysis of identical twins and non-genetically related subjects: implications for the forensic speaker comparison in different dialects and speaking styles

Grant number: 23/11070-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2023
Effective date (End): November 30, 2025
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Linguistics - Linguistic Theory and Analysis
Principal Investigator:Sandra Madureira
Grantee:Julio Cesar Cavalcanti de Oliveira
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Comunicação, Letras e Artes. Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC-SP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:22/05848-7 - Multi-dimensional analysis of language, discourse and society, AP.TEM

Abstract

This research project focuses on the multidimensional analysis of the forensic suitability regarding a set of acoustic-phonetic parameters in comparisons involving genetically-related (i.e., identical twins) and non-genetically-related speakers in different dialects and speaking styles. Two forensic-related speaking styles will be under assessment: (i) recordings of spontaneous dialogues via telephone between identical twin pairs and (ii) recordings of interviews between each subject and the researcher. Furthermore, at least two different dialects will be included for adequate control. The focus of the study will be on temporal speech parameters, such as speech rate, articulation rate, and segments durations (e.g., vowels, syllables, and diphthongs); on vowel quality-related acoustic parameters (i.e., formant analysis); and on statistical descriptors of the voice/speech fundamental frequency (e.g., measures of central tendency and dispersion). The data will be analyzed following a statistical-probabilistic approach. From a general viewpoint, this research project seeks to identify acoustic-phonetic parameters considered to be remarkably speaker-discriminatory in Brazilian Portuguese, examining the degree of consistency and robustness of such measures in situations where the limits of inter-speaker variation are reduced, such as due to the considerable physical similarity between subjects (i.e., comparisons of identical twins). Furthermore, the acoustic measures' level of consistency in different dialects and speaking styles (i.e., spontaneous conversation vs. interview) will also be checked, and the parameters with the lowest and highest inter-speaker variability will be identified. This research may be regarded as the first study in Portuguese with identical twin speakers within the forensic phonetic scope, including the assessment of different dialects and speaking styles.

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