Using MAUS to Investigate Children’s Production of Lexical Stress

Joanne Arciuli, Kirrie Ballard, Katelyn Phillips, Adam Vogel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Contrasting strong versus weak syllables within words (lexical stress) is critical for effective communication in English. Yet acoustic data required to shed light on stress contrastivity are usually obtained via laborious manual methods, an obstacle to large-scale studies. The automatic alignment procedure in the Munich Automatic Segmentation tool (MAUS) [1] might reduce the manual effort required for acoustic analyses. However, there is little data on the reliability of MAUS when compared with manual measurements in analysing child speech. We report on a subsample taken from a large study designed to investigate lexical stress production in typically developing Australian English-speaking children. We compared manual acoustic measurements with measurements obtained via MAUS. The results from analysis of 200 word productions showed moderate to high correlations between the measurements. However, MAUS tended to overestimate the duration of weak vowels (but not strong vowels). Use of MAUS in combination with manual checks is recommended.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Melbourne, Australia 2019
EditorsSasha Calhoun, Paola Escudero, Marija Tabain, Paul Warren
Place of PublicationCanberra, Australia
Publisher Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9780646800691
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences - Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 5 Aug 20199 Aug 2019
Conference number: 19


Conference19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences
Abbreviated titleICPhS2019
Internet address


  • lexical stress
  • prosody
  • acoustic analysis
  • MAUS
  • children's speech


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