Second International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (ICSLP'92)

Banff, Alberta, Canada
October 13-16, 1992

Electromyographie Studies on the Production of Pitch Contour in Accentless Dialects in Japanese

Shigeru Kiritani (1), Hajime Hirose (1), Kikuo Maekawa (2), Tsutomu Sato (3)

(1) Faculty of Medicine, Univ. of Tokyo; (2) National Language Research Laboratory; (3) Meiji Gakuin University; Japan

Most previous studies on the quantitative analysis of pitch contour in Japanese are concerned either with the Tokyo dialect or with the Kinki dialect. In these dialects, pitch contour is generally characterized as the superposition of a component related to word accent and a component related to the prosodic phrase. However, in Japanese, there are many local dialects which do not have distinctive word accent (accentless dialects). These dialects can be expected to serve as an interesting and valuable target for the study of intonation contours because, first of all, in these dialects, pitch contours corresponding to prosodic phrases are directly manifested as actual pitch contours without any interference from word accent. Furthermore, a recent study by one of the present authors (K. Maekawa 5)) has revealed that many accentless dialects show characteristic pitch contours corresponding to prosodic phrases which are quite different from those observed in the Tokyo or Kinki dialects. In the Tokyo dialect, for example, the basic pattern of the pitch contour for the unit of the prosodic phrase can be characterized as a declination pattern (i.e., the initial pitch rise and the gradual pitch fall toward the end of the utterance). The boundaries of the prosodic phrases in the utterance are generally signaled by a pitch rise at the boundaries. However, accentless dialects often have their own characteristic pitch pattern for prosodic phrases and also for marking prosodic boundaries.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Kiritani, Shigeru / Hirose, Hajime / Maekawa, Kikuo / Sato, Tsutomu (1992): "Electromyographie studies on the production of pitch contour in accentless dialects in Japanese", In ICSLP-1992, 783-786.