8th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Antwerp, Belgium
August 27-31, 2007

F0 Models Show Chinese Speakers of Japanese Insert Intonational Boundaries and Drop Pitch

Hiroko Hirano (1), Keikichi Hirose (1), Goh Kawai (2), Wentao Gu (3), Nobuaki Minematsu (1)

(1) University of Tokyo, Japan
(2) Hokkaido University, Japan
(3) Chinese University of Hong Kong, China

We used a command-response additive F0 model to analyze F0 patterns of Japanese spoken by native speakers of Mandarin Chinese. Compared to native speakers of Japanese, we found that Chinese speakers exhibit the following characteristics: (a) higher pitch, (b) more phrases, (c) bunsetsu decomposition, and (d) utterance-final plunging. These characteristics physically manifest themselves as: (a) higher baseline F0, (b) more phrase commands, (c) more accent commands, and (d) negative commands. These characteristics may be subjectively perceived as: (a) tinnier speech (possible L1 marker but does not degrade communication), (b) disjoint phrases (requires mental consolidation), (c) choppy prosodic words (requires reconstruction), and (d) abrupt utterance termination (possibly misconstrued as emphatic or rude). We believe these difficulties arose from tonal and syllable-timed interference, which can be overcome by prosodic control and planning.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Hirano, Hiroko / Hirose, Keikichi / Kawai, Goh / Gu, Wentao / Minematsu, Nobuaki (2007): "F0 models show Chinese speakers of Japanese insert intonational boundaries and drop pitch", In INTERSPEECH-2007, 1885-1888.