Sixth International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (ICSLP 2000)

Beijing, China
October 16-20, 2000

Prosodic Marking of Information Status in Tokyo Japanese

Marc Swerts (1), Miki Taniguchi (2), Yasuhiro Katagiri (3)

(1) IPO, Center for User-System Interaction, Eindhoven, The Netherlands and CNTS, Center for Dutch Language and Speech, Antwerp, Belgium
(2) Graduate School of Language and Culture, Osaka Univ., Japan
(3) Advanced Telecommunications Research Laboratories, MIC, Kyoto, Japan

This paper reports the results of a study on the prosodic marking of information status, i.e., whether information is ‘new’ or ‘given’ in the discourse, in Tokyo Japanese noun phrases (NPs). Previous investigations have indicated that such discoursal information is re- flected in accent distribution in Dutch NPs, and in degree of accentuation in Italian NPs. An acoustic analysis of Japanese data, in which accent is lexically determined, reveals that information status, both for accented and unaccented words, is mainly reflected in pitch range, with higher range used to signal new information, and lower range used to signal given information. In addition to the effect of discourse, there is ‘downstep’, which lowers the pitch of words following an accented word inside a prosodic phrase. A perception study shows that this pitch range variation has limited cue value for listeners about the information status of particular words.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Swerts, Marc / Taniguchi, Miki / Katagiri, Yasuhiro (2000): "Prosodic marking of information status in tokyo Japanese", In ICSLP-2000, vol.1, 78-81.