Pashto Intonation Patterns

Luca Rognoni, Judith Bishop, Miriam Corris

A hand-labelled Pashto speech data set containing spontaneous conversations is analysed in order to propose an intonational inventory of Pashto. Basic intonation patterns observed in the language are summarised. The relationship between pitch accent and part of speech (PoS), which was also annotated for each word in the data set, is briefly addressed.

The results are compared with the intonational literature on Persian, a better-described and closely-related language. The results show that Pashto intonation patterns are similar to Persian, as well as reflecting common intonation patterns such as falling tone for statements and WH-questions, and yes/no questions ending in a rising tone. The data also show that the most frequently used intonation pattern in Pashto is the so-called hat pattern. The distribution of pitch accent is quite free both in Persian and Pashto, but there is a stronger association of pitch accent with content than with function words, as is typical of stress-accent languages.

The phonetic realisation of focus appears to be conveyed with the same acoustic cues as in Persian, with a higher pitch excursion and longer duration of the stressed syllable of the word in focus. The data also suggest that post-focus compression (PFC) is present in Pashto.

 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1353

Cite as: Rognoni, L., Bishop, J., Corris, M. (2017) Pashto Intonation Patterns. Proc. Interspeech 2017, 1228-1232, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1353.

  author={Luca Rognoni and Judith Bishop and Miriam Corris},
  title={Pashto Intonation Patterns},
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2017},