EUROSPEECH 2001 Scandinavia
Unlike in languages such as English and Standard Italian, Neapolitan Italian yes/no questions and narrow focus statements share a rising-falling (LHL) tune [1, 2]. However, the alignment of the target H peak has been claimed to be later in questions. This study acoustically tested the hypothesis that all three tonal targets of the rise-fall are timed and scaled differently in questions and statements. Moreover, slope differences for both rise and fall were also tested by employing logistic regression modeling. Two speakers of Neapolitan Italian produced utterances whose target words differed in question/ statement modality, syllable structure and segmental environment. The results show that all three targets within the risefall are timed later in questions than in statements. By contrast, no systematic difference was found for the slope of the rise nor for the slope of the fall. The exact contribution of F0 height to signaling the contrast could not be determined, though. In fact, while one speaker marked the difference by producing higher peaks for statements, the other did not produce any difference.
Bibliographic reference. D’Imperio, Mariapaola (2001): "Tonal alignment, scaling and slope in Italian question and statement tunes", In EUROSPEECH-2001, 99-102.