8th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Jeju Island, Korea
October 4-8, 2004

The Effect of Intonation on Perception of Cantonese Lexical Tones

Valter Ciocca, Tara L. Whitehill, Joan K.-Y. Ma

The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

This study was to investigate the perception of intonation-induced changes in tone in Cantonese. Previous studies have showed that the F0 level and contour of tones are likely to be modified by different intonations. As perception of tones depends primarily on the fundamental frequency (F0) pattern, it is likely that these intonation-induced changes in F0 will affect listeners' perception. In the present study, speech materials of two different intonations (question and statement) with six tonal contrasts placed at two different positions (initial and final) were presented to ten listeners. The listeners were asked to identify the tone of the target word embedded in the stimuli. Results showed that tones overall were accurately perceived, except at the final position of questions, where tones 33, 21, 23 and 22 were confused with tone 25. The perceptual patterns of individual listeners were also analysed, with differences in tone identification strategies identified across listeners.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Ciocca, Valter / Whitehill, Tara L. / Ma, Joan K.-Y. (2004): "The effect of intonation on perception of Cantonese lexical tones", In INTERSPEECH-2004, 489-492.