8th European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology

Geneva, Switzerland
September 1-4, 2003


Potential Audiovisual Correlates of Contrastive Focus in French

Marion Dohen, Hélène Loevenbruck, Marie-Agnes Cathiard, Jean-Luc Schwartz

ICP-CNRS, France

The long-term purpose of this study is to determine whether there are "visual" cues to prosody. An audiovisual corpus was recorded from a male native French speaker. The sentences had a subject-verb-object (SVO) syntactic structure. Four conditions were studied: focus on each phrase (S,V,O) and no focus. Normal and reiterant modes were recorded. We first measured F0, duration and intensity to validate the corpus. The pitch maximum over the utterance was generally on a focused syllable and duration and intensity were higher for the focused syllables. Then lip aperture and jaw opening were extracted from the video. The jaw opening maximum generally fell on one of the focused syllables, but peak velocity was more consistently correlated with focus. Moreover, lip closure duration was longer for the first segment of the focused phrase. We can therefore assume that there are visual aspects in prosody that may be used in communication.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Dohen, Marion / Loevenbruck, Hélène / Cathiard, Marie-Agnes / Schwartz, Jean-Luc (2003): "Potential audiovisual correlates of contrastive focus in French", In EUROSPEECH-2003, 145-148.