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Quote of the Day

March 18, 2011

“Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell the name will carry.”

-Bill Cosby

This is a great observation  because in fact vowel sounds such as /a, e, i, o, u/ are typically louder than consonant sounds such as /k, b, t, m/ etc.  We can see this phenomena on a waveform, which is a visual representation of a recorded sound. A waveform shows the amplitude or loudness of a sound vertically. So if the waveform is really tall it corresponds to a really loud sound and if it is really short it corresponds to a really quiet sound.

The waveform below was taken from someone saying the name “Beth”. Take a look at the part of the waveform that corresponds to ‘e’ (squared in red). You’ll notice that its amplitude is bigger than either ‘b’ or ‘th’. This means that the vowel ‘e’ is perceptually louder than the consonants ‘b’ and ‘th’. Can anyone tell me why this might be?

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