Tonal targets and phonetic variability

Argyro Katsika, Amalia Arvaniti

The assumption that tonal targets are always localized and exhibit stable scaling and alignment was tested with Greek pitch accents H*, L+H* and H*+L. Speakers (N = 13) read mini-dialogues in which the accents were examined with respect to tonal crowding, phrase length and stress location. The F0 signal of the last three syllables of each test word was extracted at 10 ms steps and the Lucero et al. (1997) nonlinear time warping technique was used to compute the normalized alignment of the F0 signals; the resulting averaged signals were compared across conditions. The data show systematic differences in the scaling and alignment of the accents’ peaks, but also consistent differences that depend on the greater (non-immediate) context. Further, there is systematic variation involving non-localized effects on F0 as well as effects on other phonetic properties, such as duration. These results indicate that accents can be eminently variable and that cues to their realization are not limited to localized targets. Overall the results point towards a view of accents as distributions of values – in line with all phonetic categories – rather than as invariable prototypes or sets of discrete “allotones” as is often the practice in AM.

Cite as

Katsika, A., Arvaniti, A. (2016) Tonal targets and phonetic variability. Proc. Speech Prosody 2016, (abstract).

author={Argyro Katsika and Amalia Arvaniti},
title={Tonal targets and phonetic variability},
booktitle={Speech Prosody 2016}