An imitation experiment tests the hypothesis that when asked to reproduce a spontaneously-spoken utterance that they hear, speakers imitate the prosody of the stimulus in its phonological structure more accurately than the phonetic details. Results suggest that speakers rarely distort the presence of a pitch accent or an intonational phrase boundary, but more often change the nature of the phonetic cues, e.g. the duration of a pause or the occurrence of irregular pitch periods associated with boundaries and accents in American English. These findings argue for an encoding of phonological prosodic structure that is separate from the phonetic cues that signal that structure.
Bibliographic reference. Cole, Jennifer / Shattuck-Hufnagel, Stefanie (2011): "The phonology and phonetics of perceived prosody: what do listeners imitate?", In INTERSPEECH-2011, 969-972.