ISCA Archive SpeechProsody 2022
ISCA Archive SpeechProsody 2022

The effects of syntactic and acoustic cues on the perception of prosodic boundaries

Jianjing Kuang, May Pik Yu Chan, Nari Rhee

This study investigates how the perception of prosodic boundaries is shaped by syntactic phrasing and acoustic cues for English and Mandarin listeners. Syntactically-parsed speech corpora were used as the stimuli for the perception experiment. The relative strength of the syntactic boundary of both the left and right sides of the constituents was extracted from the syntactic parsing annotations. A wide range of acoustic cues of both prosodic domain-final and domain-initial positions were examined. Linear-mixed-effects modeling of the likelihood of boundary perception suggests that, for both languages, prosodic boundary perception was influenced by both the strength of syntactic boundary and acoustic cues: boundary perception was heavily driven by the presence of pause; pause also modulated the contribution of other acoustic cues; and larger syntactic boundaries were generally more likely to be perceived as prosodic boundaries. However, there is also cross-linguistic variation: the effect of syntactic phrasing cues was generally stronger for English; acoustically, the effect of final lengthening and pitch reset was stronger in English, while pause was the dominant cue in Mandarin. We discuss the important implications of these findings related to the nature of prosodic hierarchy, and the nature of the prosody-syntax interface.


doi: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-142

Cite as: Kuang, J., Chan, M.P.Y., Rhee, N. (2022) The effects of syntactic and acoustic cues on the perception of prosodic boundaries. Proc. Speech Prosody 2022, 699-703, doi: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-142

@inproceedings{kuang22_speechprosody,
  author={Jianjing Kuang and May Pik Yu Chan and Nari Rhee},
  title={{The effects of syntactic and acoustic cues on the perception of prosodic boundaries}},
  year=2022,
  booktitle={Proc. Speech Prosody 2022},
  pages={699--703},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-142}
}