INTERSPEECH 2012
13th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Portland, OR, USA
September 9-13, 2012

Prosodic Realization of Focus in Statement and Question in Tibetan (Lhasa Dialect)

Xiaxia Zhang (1), Bei Wang (1), Qian Wu (1), Yi Xu (2)

(1) Institute of Chinese Minority Languages and Literatures, Minzu University of China, Beijing, China
(2) Department of Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences, University College London, London, UK

The present study investigated prosodic realization of focus in statement and yes/no question in Tibetan (Lhasa dialect). Two target sentences were uttered by 8 speakers in both statement and yes/no question under four focus conditions, i.e., initial, medial, final and neutral focus. Systematic acoustic analysis showed that: (1) On-focus words exhibited significant F0 rising, pitch range expansion, and duration lengthening, while pitch range of pre-focus words remained largely intact. Importantly, focus led to post-focus F0 lowering and compression and this is true for both statement and question. (2) Interrogative intonation had higher F0 than statement in the unfocused words. In general, the prosodic realization of focus in Tibetan is comparable to English and Beijing Mandarin. We will also discuss the impact of the new finding on our knowledge about the distribution and origin of post-focus compression (PFC).

Index Terms: Tibetan, focus, post-focus compression, PFC

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Zhang, Xiaxia / Wang, Bei / Wu, Qian / Xu, Yi (2012): "Prosodic realization of focus in statement and question in tibetan (lhasa dialect)", In INTERSPEECH-2012, 667-670.