Perception of prosodic boundaries by naïve listeners in French

Anne Catherine Simon, George Christodoulides

We present the results of an experiment on the on-line perception of prosodic boundaries by 84 naïve listeners. Potential samples from a multi-genre corpus of spoken French were stratified based on 3 prosodic measures, and 48 samples (mean length 29.9 seconds) were selected, balanced for their degree of fluency. Each sample was resynthesized to obliterate lexical content while keeping its syllabic structure and intonation. Four sets of stimuli were created (12 natural, 12 manipulated speech). Each sample was presented only once to 20 to 22 participants, who were instructed to press the space-bar as soon as they heard the end of a “group of words”. Baseline reaction time to simple tones was measured before and after the perception task. In total, 17195 perceived prosodic boundaries (PPB) were recorded. For each PPB, we calculated its strength, the temporal delay and dispersion of responses. Results show that although the number of PPBs is similar in natural speech (NS) and manipulated speech (MS), the types of PPBs, their acoustic correlates and relation to syntax vary between the two conditions; in NS, we show that the presence of a filled pause and the syntactic structure act as strong cues to PPBs.

DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2016-238

Cite as

Simon, A.C., Christodoulides, G. (2016) Perception of prosodic boundaries by naïve listeners in French. Proc. Speech Prosody 2016, 1158-1162.

author={Anne Catherine Simon and George Christodoulides},
title={Perception of prosodic boundaries by naïve listeners in French},
booktitle={Speech Prosody 2016},