First European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology

Paris, France
September 27-29, 1989

The Prediction of Focus

Anton Batliner (1), Elmar Nöth (2)

(1) Institut für Deutsche Philologie, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München, F.R. Germany
(2) Lehrstuhl für Informatik 5 (Musterekennung), Friedrich-Alexander Universität, Erlangen, F.R. Germany

We present results on how focus is marked intonationalty in German. Several speakers produced a large corpus of sentences. The corpus was constructed in a way that sentence modality and place of focus could only be differentiated by intonational means. Acoustic features representing the intonational parameters pitch, duration, and intensity, were extracted manually or automatically. The relevance of these features and the effect of several transformations were tested with statistical methods. Perceptual experiments where the listeners had to judge the naturalness and categories of the utterances were performed as well By calculating average values for the (appropriately transformed) relevant features we found "normal", prototypical cases. We will show that by looking at utterances where all listeners agreed on the naturalness and (intended) categories we arrived at coinciding results. At the same time we found "unusual" but regular productions.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Batliner, Anton / Nöth, Elmar (1989): "The prediction of focus", In EUROSPEECH-1989, 1210-1213.