First International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (ICSLP 90)

Kobe, Japan
November 18-22, 1990

Sternohyoid Muscle Activity and Pitch Control at the Onset of Utterances

Zyun'ici B. Simada (1), Satoshi Horiguchi (2), Seiji Niimi (2), Hajime Hirose (2)

(1) Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Kitasato University, Kanagawa, Japan
(2) Research Institute of Logopedics and Phoniatrics, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

Sternohyoid activity involving accentual contrast was examined in a male speaker of Tokyo Japanese. The contrast of interest was in the initial position of sentence frames; thus, unaccented vs. accented pairs of two-mora meaningful words were compared in terms of pitch movements and electro- myographic activity. The utterance types all showed such activity preceding the audio onset. For words with accent, this activity became still for a short period and was followed by consistent reactivation; moreover, the mean level of this pre-audio activity was lower for one type of utterances with initial accent. On the other hand, words with no accent showed a different timing for the offset of the pre-audio activity. These findings lend support to the role played by the sternohyoid muscle in pitch lowering, and specifically in the accentual distinction in Japanese.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Simada, Zyun'ici B. / Horiguchi, Satoshi / Niimi, Seiji / Hirose, Hajime (1990): "Sternohyoid muscle activity and pitch control at the onset of utterances", In ICSLP-1990, 449-452.