Broadcast speech and the effect of voice quality on the listener : a study of the various components which categorise listener perception by vocal characteristics
Voice quality is crucial to the art of the broadcast speaker. Acceptable voice quality is a necessity for an acceptable microphone voice and essential therefore for employment as a broadcaster. This thesis investigates the characteristics of the voice which provide that acceptability; and categorises the features which lead the listener to make judgements about their vocal likes and dislikes. These subjective judgements are explored by investigating the psychological, medical, and innate features contributing to the vocal perceptions of the listener. Voice quality is related to the efficiency of the larynx and its importance to voice production; and to the various vocal disorders which can affect the broadcaster. It becomes evident throughout the thesis that each listener receives a clear impression of the personality of the speaker through the features present in the voice. Many of these impressions however are based on stereotypes. The thesis relates these stereotypical judgements to accents, investigating their relationship to the 'BBC' voice, the 'World Service' voice, the 'ILR' voice and the 'reporter's voice' . It is shown that the listener's subjective impression of the voice and the broadcaster personality is formed by the presentational and physical aspects of voice quality. Listener perceptions of voice acceptability are tested and discussed. The data is analysed to provide a set of dominant characteristics from which are drawn voice histograms and frequency polygons. The result is a set of preferred voice characteristics which apply specifically to the broadcast speaker and which can be sought during the selection process.