Focus Acoustics in Mandarin Nominals

Yu-Yin Hsu, Anqi Xu


In addition to deciding what to say, interlocutors have to decide how to say it. One of the important tasks of linguists is then to model how differences in acoustic patterns influence the interpretation of a sentence. In light of previous studies on how prosodic structure convey discourse-level of information in a sentence, this study makes use of a speech production experiment to investigate how expressions related to different information packaging, such as information focus, corrective focus, and old information, are prosodically realized within a complex nominal. Special attention was paid to the sequence of “numeral-classifier-noun” in Mandarin, which consists of closely related sub-syntactic units internally, and provides a phonetically controlled environment comparable to previous phonetic studies on focus prominence at the sentential level. The result shows that a multi-dimensional strategy is used in focus-marking, and that focus prosody is sensitive to the size of focus domain and is observable in various lexical tonal environments in Mandarin.


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1167

Cite as: Hsu, Y., Xu, A. (2017) Focus Acoustics in Mandarin Nominals. Proc. Interspeech 2017, 3231-3235, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1167.


@inproceedings{Hsu2017,
  author={Yu-Yin Hsu and Anqi Xu},
  title={Focus Acoustics in Mandarin Nominals},
  year=2017,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2017},
  pages={3231--3235},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1167},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1167}
}