A Longitudinal Study of Children’s Intonation in Narrative Speech

Jeffrey Kallay, Melissa A. Redford


Adults’ narratives are hierarchically structured. This structure is evident in the linguistic and prosodic domains. Children’s narratives have a flatter structure. This structure is evident in the linguistic domain, but less is known about the prosodic domain. Here, we report results from a longitudinal study of children’s narratives that enhance our understanding of the development of discourse prosody. Spontaneous narratives were obtained from 60 children (aged 5 to 7) over a 3-year period. F0 was tracked to obtain absolute measures of slope steepness and linearity for every utterance of each narrative. These measures are known correlates of syntactic and semantic complexity. Slope direction and inter-utterance continuity in F0 were also calculated. These measures are known correlates of event boundaries in adult discourse. The results indicated systematic developmental changes related to age and year for all measures except slope steepness, consistent with developmental increases in linguistic complexity and the production of more adult-like narratives. The evidence also indicates that developmental change is most pronounced between the ages of 5 and 7 years, and levels out afterwards.


DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2016-1396

Cite as

Kallay, J., Redford, M.A. (2016) A Longitudinal Study of Children’s Intonation in Narrative Speech. Proc. Interspeech 2016, 1079-1083.

Bibtex
@inproceedings{Kallay+2016,
author={Jeffrey Kallay and Melissa A. Redford},
title={A Longitudinal Study of Children’s Intonation in Narrative Speech},
year=2016,
booktitle={Interspeech 2016},
doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2016-1396},
url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2016-1396},
pages={1079--1083}
}