Body size projection by voice quality in emotional speechEvidence from Mandarin Chinese

Xiaoluan Liu, Yi Xu


This study attempts to extend the line of research on using body size projection theory to account for emotional speech. It is predicted by the theory that anger is expressed by projecting a large body size with low pitch, rough voice and long vocal tract; happiness is expressed by projecting a small body size with high pitch, breathy voice and short vocal tract. Ten native speakers of Mandarin with drama training background recorded sentences in happy, angry, disgust and neutral emotions. We used multiple measurements to assess voice quality, formant dispersion (as an indicator of vocal tract length) and pitch. The results show clear support for the body size projection theory in voice quality, with anger and disgust associated with pressed and rough voice while happiness with breathy voice. But the results of formant dispersion and pitch demonstrate no clear directions. While the study is the first to show clear speech production support for the body size projection theory with voice quality data, the equivocal results of formant and pitch call for improvement in method of emotion elicitation in the laboratory.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-183

Cite as: Liu, X., Xu, Y. (2014) Body size projection by voice quality in emotional speechEvidence from Mandarin Chinese. Proc. 7th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2014, 974-977, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-183.


@inproceedings{Liu2014,
  author={Xiaoluan Liu and Yi Xu},
  title={{Body size projection by voice quality in emotional speechEvidence from Mandarin Chinese}},
  year=2014,
  booktitle={Proc. 7th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2014},
  pages={974--977},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-183},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-183}
}