4th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Philadelphia, PA, USA
October 3-6, 1996

An Acoustic Study of the Interaction Between Stressed and Unstressed Syllables in Spoken Mandarin

Jing Wang

Speech, Hearing and Language Research Centre, Macquarie University, Sydney

This study examines the acoustic correlates of relative prominence in connected Mandarin speech, particularly those acoustic manifestations that reveal an interaction between stressed and unstressed syllables. The acoustic measurements are primarily concerned with segment duration, intensity, and F0. This study shows that: (1) stressed CV syllables have significantly longer consonant and vowel durations and greater intensity when preceding unstressed syllables than stressed syllables; (2) vowel intensity and duration of stressed syllables are significantly affected by the stressed status of preceding and succeeding syllables, and anticipatory effects are greater on vowel duration but carryover ones are greater on vowel intensity; (3) apart from their lexical stress status, the relative prominence of consecutive syllables is mainly determined by interaction - i.e., unstressed syllables render neighboring syllables more prominent, while stressed syllables cause neighboring syllables to become weak, engendering a pattern of alternating strong and weak syllables. This study also provides insights into the metrical structure of Mandarin and how stress functions in Mandarin speech, where stress and accent interact with lexical tones.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Wang, Jing (1996): "An acoustic study of the interaction between stressed and unstressed syllables in spoken Mandarin", In ICSLP-1996, 1616-1619.