Perception of prosodic boundaries by naïve listeners in three different types of subordinate syntactic constructions

Manon Lelandais, Gaëlle Ferré


This paper investigates the use of prosodic and syntactic information in the perception of boundaries in extracts of spontaneous speech. 30 naïve listeners had to measure boundary strength for 52 extracts on a 5-point scale (“no boundary”, “uncertain”, “weak boundary”, “boundary”, “strong boundary”). The stimuli were extracted from a collection of dialogues in British English. They all contained three tone-units, the second being a syntactic subordinate construction. The syntactic type of subordination was established as a variable. The prosodic cues at the boundary between the tone-units were also established as variables, and were subject to manipulation (addition of a single cue associated with the perception of a prosodic boundary). The stimuli were also resynthesized in another set to obliterate lexical and syntactic content while keeping syllabic structure and intonation. Results show that naïve listeners are able to identify different degrees of break, and that the three syntactic types show different interactions with ratings. Although a silent pause is the strongest cue to boundary perception for all three types of subordination, the orders and levels of association with other prosodic cues are not the same across syntactic types.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-21

Cite as: Lelandais, M., Ferré, G. (2018) Perception of prosodic boundaries by naïve listeners in three different types of subordinate syntactic constructions. Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018, 104-108, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-21.


@inproceedings{Lelandais2018,
  author={Manon Lelandais and Gaëlle Ferré},
  title={Perception of prosodic boundaries by naïve listeners in three different types of subordinate syntactic constructions},
  year=2018,
  booktitle={Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018},
  pages={104--108},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-21},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-21}
}