9th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Brisbane, Australia
September 22-26, 2008

Acoustic Cues for the Perception of Intonation in Cantonese

Joan K.-Y. Ma (1), Valter Ciocca (2), Tara L. Whitehill (1)

(1) University of Hong Kong, China; (2) University of British Columbia, Canada

This study aimed at identifying acoustic cues in intonation perception in Cantonese. Carriers and final syllables contrasting in intonation were selected from a previous study in which listeners identified the stimuli as either questions or statements. Acoustic analyses were used to determine the F0, duration and intensity variation of the carriers and the F0 and duration contrasts of the final syllables. Results showed that carriers consistently identified as questions or statements contrasted in F0 patterns but not in duration or intensity variations. Carriers perceived as questions with above-chance-level accuracy had a higher average F0 level than the other stimuli. At the final position of an utterance, differences were found in both F0 contour and level. The final syllables of questions showed a rising F0 contour, regardless of the original tone and a higher F0 level than their counterparts in statements. These findings are discussed in the context of 'biological codes'.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Ma, Joan K.-Y. / Ciocca, Valter / Whitehill, Tara L. (2008): "Acoustic cues for the perception of intonation in Cantonese", In INTERSPEECH-2008, 520-523.