Voice quality

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Term referring to the permanently present quality of voice of a particular speaker. An individual's voice quality is based on the combination of factors such as pitch level, loudness, tempo, timbre, breathiness, tenseness, nasality, hoarseness, etc. Voice quality may also have a contrastive function in the phonological system of a language. Breathiness, for example, is phonemic for vowels in Gujarati and for stops in Igbo (Ladefoged & Maddieson, 1996)



  • Ladefoged, P. & Maddieson, I. 1996. The Sounds of the World's Languages, Cambridge, MA: Blackwell

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