Processing emotional prosody in Mandarin Chinese: A cross-language comparison

Pan Liu, Marc Pell


To understand how emotional prosody is processed in Mandarin Chinese and whether it differs from that of other languages, we conducted a perceptual-acoustic study on a set of Chinese vocal emotional stimuli and examined how they were perceived and acoustically characterized, in comparison with four other languages, English, Arabic, German, and Hindi, reported by Pell et al. [1]. Chinese pseudo-utterances spoken in seven emotions (anger, disgust, fear, sadness, happiness, pleasant surprise, and neutrality) were first identified by a group of native Mandarin speakers in a seven forced choice task, and then subjected to acoustic analyses. Results revealed that among the seven emotions, neutrality, anger, sadness, and fear tended to be recognized most accurately. Acoustic analysis demonstrated the importance of three acoustic parameters (f0 mean, f0 range, and speech rate) in characterizing vocal emotions in Mandarin. Both the perceptual and acoustic characteristics are highly similar, although not identical, to that observed by Pell et al. [1] in English, Arabic, German, and Hindi, indicating a set of universal principles in vocal emotion communication across languages.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-7

Cite as: Liu, P., Pell, M. (2014) Processing emotional prosody in Mandarin Chinese: A cross-language comparison. Proc. 7th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2014, 95-99, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-7.


@inproceedings{Liu2014,
  author={Pan Liu and Marc Pell},
  title={{Processing emotional prosody in Mandarin Chinese: A cross-language comparison}},
  year=2014,
  booktitle={Proc. 7th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2014},
  pages={95--99},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-7},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-7}
}