Speech Prosody 2004

Nara, Japan
March 23-26, 2004

Perception of Contrastive Emphasis by American English and Japanese Listeners

Donna Erickson

Department of International Cultural Studies, Gifu City Women’s College, Gifu, Japan

Acoustic and articulatory measurements were made of contrastively emphasized digits in dialogs read by two American English speakers. The averaged duration, F1, F2-F1 pattern, tongue dorsum and jaw positions were significantly different for the emphasized vs. unemphasized digits for both speakers, but only one of the speakers showed a significant difference in peak F0. For both American and Japanese listeners, the digits best perceived as emphasized were those produced with lower jaw and more tongue dorsum movement in the direction of the phonological specification of the vowel, with acoustic correlates of longer duration and more peripheral formant frequencies, and increased F0. The results suggest that the phonetic correlates of contrastive emphasis/contrastive focus are very similar in the two languages, even though the languages have different rhythm and accent typologies.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Erickson, Donna (2004): "Perception of contrastive emphasis by american English and Japanese listeners", In SP-2004, 701-704.