This paper investigated the effect of semantic predictability on acoustic realizations in Taiwan Mandarin. Most previous studies have been guided by the assumption that in high predictability conditions, speech units tend to be reduced in the temporal and spectral qualities. This paper focuses on a tone language in an attempt to not only examine previous findings about vowels but also look into possible effect of semantic predictability on F0. The results showed that words were shorter in vowel duration, lower in the intensity, and more centralized within the vowel space when they were embedded in high predictability contexts. Male and female speakers both performed the same reduction process systematically. F0 excursion was also found strongly affected by semantic predictability; specifically, it was much smaller in high predictability conditions. Moreover, gender difference in the extent of F0 excursion was mediated in high predictability conditions. This paper provides additional evidence for the acoustic correlates of semantic predictability in speech production and sheds light on the prosodic encoding of semantic structures in tone languages.
Bibliographic reference. Hsieh, Po-jen (2013): "Prosodic markings of semantic predictability in taiwan Mandarin", In INTERSPEECH-2013, 553-557.