Initial Pitch Cues in English Sentence Types

Matthew Patience, Olivia Marasco, Laura Colanton, Gabrielle Klassen, Malina Radu, Olga Tararova

Previous research has revealed that English speakers can differentiate between questions and statements after hearing an utterance's first pitch accent [1]. This suggests that initial F0 cues distinguishing questions from statements are present in the input. We examined this proposal by analyzing the first pitch accent in statements, absolute yes/no questions, and declarative questions. The production of these three sentence types was elicited from 10 Canadian English speakers who performed a sentence-repetition task. Results revealed that statements were produced with an initial H*, whereas both question types were almost exclusively produced with an initial L*+H. Statements were also produced with an earlier peak alignment, and a smaller F0 change. No differences were observed between absolute and declarative questions. The results are consistent with the stimuli analyzed in [1], and provide further evidence that initial pitch cues mark sentence type in Canadian English.

 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-94

Cite as: Patience, M., Marasco, O., Colanton, L., Klassen, G., Radu, M., Tararova, O. (2018) Initial Pitch Cues in English Sentence Types. Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018, 463-467, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-94.

  author={Matthew Patience and Olivia Marasco and Laura Colanton and Gabrielle Klassen and Malina Radu and Olga Tararova},
  title={Initial Pitch Cues in English Sentence Types},
  booktitle={Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018},