Prosodic Characteristics of Genuine and Mock (Im)polite Mandarin Utterances

Chengwei Xu, Wentao Gu


As specialized social affects in speech communication, mock politeness and mock impoliteness are usually characterized by unique prosodic patterns that conflict with the literal meanings. To give a quantitative analysis of prosodic characteristics, a context-elicited discourse completion task was conducted to collect genuine and mock (im)polite Mandarin utterances in both imperative and interrogative modes. Results revealed that prosodic features played roles in a complex way. Mock polite speech showed a higher maximum F0 and intensity, a wider range as well as a higher variability of F0 and intensity, a lower HNR, and a higher jitter than genuine polite speech, whereas mock impolite speech showed a lower mean/maximum F0 and intensity, a narrower range as well as a lower variability of F0 and intensity, a slower speech rate, a higher HNR, and lower jitter, shimmer and H1-H2 than genuine impolite speech. In the perceptual experiment, the lower identification rates on mock (im)politeness indicated that perceptual judgement was influenced by literal meanings. Politeness ratings further showed that mock (im)polite speech was less (im)polite than genuine (im)polite speech, suggesting a good correspondence between prosodic manifestations and perceived politeness. Moreover, interrogatives sounded more polite than imperatives, also verifying the Tact Maxim principle for politeness.


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2020-3231

Cite as: Xu, C., Gu, W. (2020) Prosodic Characteristics of Genuine and Mock (Im)polite Mandarin Utterances. Proc. Interspeech 2020, 4153-4157, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2020-3231.


@inproceedings{Xu2020,
  author={Chengwei Xu and Wentao Gu},
  title={{Prosodic Characteristics of Genuine and Mock (Im)polite Mandarin Utterances}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2020},
  pages={4153--4157},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2020-3231},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2020-3231}
}