Speech Prosody 2002

Aix-en-Provence, France
April 11-13, 2002

Perception of Syllable Prominence by Listeners with and without Competence in the Tested Language

Anders Eriksson (1), Esther Grabe (2), Hartmut Traunmüller (1)

(1) Department of Linguistics, Stockholm University, Sweden
(2) Phonetics Laboratory, University of Oxford, UK

In an experiment reported previously, subjects rated perceived syllable prominence in a Swedish utterance produced by ten speakers at various levels of vocal effort. The analysis showed that about half of the variance could be accounted for by acoustic factors. Slightly more than half could be accounted for by linguistic factors. Here, we report two additional experiments. In the first, we attempted to eliminate the linguistic factors by repeating the Swedish listening experiment with English listeners who had no knowledge of Swedish. In the second, we investigated the prominence pattern Swedish subjects expect by presenting the utterance only in written form. The results from these subjects and from the Swedish listeners were very similar but for two of the syllables where the prominence pattern did not coincide with the expectations of the readers. Swedish and English listeners perceived the prominence of the syllables to be almost identical in most cases, but where there was a conflict between expected and produced prominence, the Swedish listeners appeared to be influenced by their expectations. There was also a difference in the weights the Swedish and English listeners attached to different acoustic cues in the listening experiments.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Eriksson, Anders / Grabe, Esther / Traunmüller, Hartmut (2002): "Perception of syllable prominence by listeners with and without competence in the tested language", In SP-2002, 275-278.