4th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Philadelphia, PA, USA
October 3-6, 1996

Timing of Pitch Movements and Accentuation of Syllables

Dik J. Hermes

Institute for Perception Research, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

In this study, the relation is investigated between the timing of a rising or falling pitch movement and the syllable it accentuates. The experiments were carried out with the five-syllable utterance /mamamamama/ provided with a rising or falling pitch movement. The timing of the pitch movement was systematically varied and subjects were asked to indicate which syllable they perceived as accented. In order to find out where in the pitch movement the cue which induces the percept of accentuation is located, the duration of the pitch movement was varied. The results show that the percept of accentuation is induced by a change in pitch at the start of the movement. The moment at which the course of pitch has changed significantly determines which syllable is perceived as accented. If this moment lies some tens of ms before the vowel onset, the syllable preceding this vowel onset is perceived as accented. For a rise, a high accent is perceived, for a fall a low accent. If the pitch change occurs after this moment, the syllable which contains this vowel onset is perceived as accented. For the rise, a low accent is then perceived, for the fall a high accent.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Hermes, Dik J. (1996): "Timing of pitch movements and accentuation of syllables", In ICSLP-1996, 1197-1200.