14thAnnual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Lyon, France
August 25-29, 2013

Melody Metrics for Prosodic Typology: Comparing English, French and Chinese

Daniel Hirst

LPL, France

In recent years there have been a number of proposals for objective paradigms for establishing prosodic typologies among languages. This paper compares the results of melody metrics calculated on just over two hours of read speech for each of three languages. Pitch movements in Chinese, a lexical tone language, were found to be significantly more ample and more varied than those obtained for English, characterised as a language with lexical stress and French, characterised as a language with no lexical prosody. Moreover, a gender difference, observed in both English and French was not observed in Chinese. It is conjectured that the pressure from the lexical use of tone in Chinese may have the effect of restricting the use of pitch for other functions.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Hirst, Daniel (2013): "Melody metrics for prosodic typology: comparing English, French and Chinese", In INTERSPEECH-2013, 572-576.