Interspeech'2005 - Eurospeech

Lisbon, Portugal
September 4-8, 2005

A Glimpse of the Time-Course of Intonation Processing in European Portuguese

Isabel Falé, Isabel Hub Faria

Onset-CEL, Portugal

We have investigated the phenomenon of prediction in speech processing through intonational contrasts in European Portuguese (EP) grammar.

20 EP subjects were presented with auditory speech stimuli gated in specific locations on a sentence which they had to classify within a category. Afterwards, they also had to rate the confidence level for each of their answers.

Declarative sentences (statements) were identified at the first stressed vowel in the 5 pairs of stimuli by more than 50% of the subjects. On the other hand, interrogatives (questions) were identified later on the sentence near its end (specifically, on the last stressed vowel). These results suggest a dual approach for EP intonational data analysis: global and local.

The confidence level results showed that listeners need more data to be sure about their stimulus sentence type identification. EP listeners were really attentive to phonetic detail specificities of the speech signal and started to build their internal representation of the intonation contour very early in the sentence with these data. Therefore, relevant prosodic cues must be available early in the speech signal.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Falé, Isabel / Hub Faria, Isabel (2005): "A glimpse of the time-course of intonation processing in European Portuguese", In INTERSPEECH-2005, 2377-2380.