Sixth European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology

Budapest, Hungary
September 5-9, 1999

A Contrastive Investigation of Discourse Intonational Characteristic Features of Sofia Bulgarian and Hamburg German in MAP Task Dialogues

Evelina Grigorova (1), Vladimir Filipov (1), Bistra Andreeva (2)

(1) Sofia University, Bulgaria
(2) Institute of Phonetics, University of the Saarland, Saarbrücken, Germany

Ten MAP Task dialogues for Sofia Bulgarian (SB) and six for Hamburg German (HG) are recorded and analyzed by means of X-Waves Software Package. The discourse intonation features focused on are denial and convergence. It has been observed that for German denial can be integrated into discourse-listing through intonation: Ja-acknowledge and Nein-/Ne-denial moves are both manifested by intonation rises. For Bulgarian, intonation rises in answering moves occur only in the acknowledge subtype: rises in denials (Ne-) are associated with uncertainty and surprise. The HG Ne- and SB Ne-moves are resynthesized by means of PSOLA, twelve stimuli being obtained for SB and sixteen for HG. Two appropriate contexts marked for discourse-listing and follow-up moves are excerpted from the MAP Task and are included in perceptual tests whereby native speakers are asked to determine the appropriateness of each stimulus in relation to each context. 'The results for Bulgarian contradict our preliminary observations. Convergence is defined as the matching of corresponding movements in pitch ranges and signals sympathetic agreement with the other speaker’s point of view. The check: answer move sequence can be viewed as instantiating convergence and exemplifies both lexical and Fo movement repetition, especially where ellipted moves are concerned. The two resynthesized sequences for HG and SB respectively are "Im Westen" and "Pravo nagore" as manifested in check and answering contexts. As above, native speakers are expected to determine the appropriateness of each stimulus in relation to each context. It has been observed that the differences between checks and answering moves for both HG and SB are phonetically manifested and are also established as being relevant by the perceptual tests, yet they cannot be accounted for phonologically by tone alignment: convergence seems to attenuate the phonological differentiation between checks and answering moves.

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Bibliographic reference.  Grigorova, Evelina / Filipov, Vladimir / Andreeva, Bistra (1999): "A contrastive investigation of discourse intonational characteristic features of sofia bulgarian and hamburg German in MAP task dialogues", In EUROSPEECH'99, 25-28.