First International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (ICSLP 90)

Kobe, Japan
November 18-22, 1990

The Perception of Inter-Stress-Intervals in Japanese Speakers of English

Michiko Mochizuki-Sudo (1), Shigeru Kiritani (2)

(1) Juntendo University, Chiba, Japan; (2) University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

This study examines the perception of inter-stress-intervals by the Americans and the Japanese learners of English. Perception experiments were performed by using LPC analysis and synthesis of speech in which the durations of target stressed vowels were lengthened or shortened. We measured the discrimination of the stressed vowel durations as well as the influence of the durational change in a stressed vowel on the perception of the naturalness of temporal patterns. The results of the experiments demonstrated that non-proficient Japanese speakers of English are not less sensitive than the Americans in discriminating the durations of stressed vowels. However, their judgments of what is natural for a stressed vowel span a broader range of vowel durations than for the Americans. Moreover, a durational adjustment in the following unstressed syllable compensated for the lengthening of the stressed vowel in the case of the American listeners, but not in the case of the Japanese listeners. These results indicate that the ISI is a temporal unit in the perception of English for the Americans, but not for the non-proficient Japanese speakers, thus lending support for the traditional distinction between English versus Japanese as being stress-timed versus mora-timed.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Mochizuki-Sudo, Michiko / Kiritani, Shigeru (1990): "The perception of inter-stress-intervals in Japanese speakers of English", In ICSLP-1990, 761-764.