Speech Prosody 2004

Nara, Japan
March 23-26, 2004

Pitch Targets Anchor Chinese Tone and Intonation Patterns

Jinfu Ni, Hisashi Kawai

ATR Spoken Language Translation Research Laboratories, Japan

This paper presents a study on the role of pitch targets in the manifestation of Chinese tone and intonation. Pitch targets are particularly measured as F0 (fundamental frequency) peaks and valleys over time. Analysis and perceptual experiments were conducted on 72 sentences, each with almost identical tone mapping, uttered two times by a female native in statements or questions. The tone and intonation patterns observed from the F0 contours were quantitatively analyzed using a functional model and then re-synthesized using the model parameters predicted from the pitch targets measured. Two perceptual experiments were done. One rates the similarity between the resynthesized tone and intonation patterns from the pitch targets and the original; the other tests human perception of tone and intonation when systematically varying the pitch targets of the final tone (Tone 2 and Tone 4) in two statements. Experimental results consistently indicate that the pitch targets are prominent for anchoring Chinese tone and intonation patterns; the exact shape of an F0 contour is predictable, given the pitch targets.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Ni, Jinfu / Kawai, Hisashi (2004): "Pitch targets anchor Chinese tone and intonation patterns", In SP-2004, 95-98.