The Graduate Research Series (GRS) returns to Alden Library on Wednesday, March 1 when doctoral candidate in the College of Health Sciences & Professions (CHSP) Yu Zhang presents “The Challenge of Speaker Variability in Speech Communication.” Zhang’s talk will be at 3pm in the Libraries’ Friends Room (Alden Library 319). Members of the OHIO community as well as the public are invited to attend.
Zhang’s research examines the ways in which speakers from different language backgrounds process speaker variability, a common challenge in speech communication. Participants in Zhang’s studies heard pairs of sounds and were asked to decide whether the second of the set was a word or just a sound. In some cases, participants heard sounds produced by the same speaker. In other cases, speaker variability was introduced; the second sound came from a different speaker. Data from 248 participants showed that speakers of English and Mandarin Chinese demonstrated differences in how they were affected by speaker variability in their quest to determine whether the second sound was a indeed real word, with Mandarin speakers appearing to be less influenced by speaker variability than their English-speaking counterparts.
Throughout the course of the research project, Zhang consulted a number of materials available from the Libraries, including the literature that formed the basis of the research project. While much of this literature was available online as journal articles, Zhang also consulted books available through the Libraries, with OhioLINK providing access to some titles not already in the Libraries’ collections. In addition, Zhang worked with the CHSP subject librarian to suggest the purchase books that would be added to the Libraries’ collection, thus providing resource for future researchers in this area.
In applying for the GRS, Zhang noted that facilities within the library proved valuable throughout the research process. Statistical software on computers in Alden Library made data analysis much less time-consuming. Later, the Graduate Writing and Research Center — a service of the Ohio University Graduate College located within Alden Library — acted as a valuable resource while Zhang worked to write up the results of the experiments.
The GRS shines a spotlight on the process of research for graduate students at Ohio University and the many research support services across the University that makes it possible for students to pursue their ideas and curiosity. We look forward to hearing from Zhang on March 1 and hope that you’ll join us to learn more. Questions about the GRS and Zhang’s presentation may be directed to Miriam Intrator or Barbara Fiocchi.