Speech Prosody 2004

Nara, Japan
March 23-26, 2004

Confusability of Chinese Intonation

Jiahong Yuan (1), Chilin Shih (2)

(1) Department of Linguistics, Cornell University, USA
(2) Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and Department of Linguistics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA

Do lexical tones interfere with the realization of intonation types? Given that tone and intonation both use F0 as a primary cue, can a listener reliably identify statements and questions when some of the channel capacity is taken up by lexical tones? We study this issue through a perception test on a carefully designed and obtained intonation corpus on Mandarin Chinese. Our study shows the following: 1. Statement intonation is easier to recognize than question intonation; 2. the sentence-final tone does not affect statement intonation recognition; 3. question intonation is easier to recognize if the sentence-final tone is falling whereas it is harder to recognize if the sentence-final tone is rising. Implications of the results for the modeling of Chinese intonation are discussed.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Yuan, Jiahong / Shih, Chilin (2004): "Confusability of Chinese intonation", In SP-2004, 131-134.