13th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Portland, OR, USA
September 9-13, 2012

Production and Perception of Focus in PFC and non-PFC Languages: Comparing Beijing Mandarin and Hainan Tsat

Bei Wang (1), Chenxia Li (1), Qian Wu (1), Xiaxia Zhang (1), Baofeng Wang (1), Yi Xu (2)

(1) Institute of Chinese Minority Languages and Literatures, Minzu University of China, Beijing, China
(2) Department of Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences, University College London, London, UK

Prosodic marking of focus has been found to be typologically different in terms of existence of post-focus compression in F0 and intensity (PFC). In the production experiment, PFC showed in Mandarin, but not in Tsat (a language spoken in Hainan, China) or in Tsat-Mandarin (Mandarin spoken by Tsat people). The perception experiments further showed the effectiveness of PFC on focus perception. Focus perception in Tsat-Mandarin and Tsat was relatively low. An interesting finding is that the perception of focus in Mandarin by Tsat listeners was much lower than that by Mandarin listeners (54.8% vs. 75.6%). It shows the difficulty of speakers from non-PFC languages associating PFC with focus perception. It can partly explain why PFC is hard to be passed through language contact.

Index Terms: post-focus compression (PFC), language contact, focus

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Wang, Bei / Li, Chenxia / Wu, Qian / Zhang, Xiaxia / Wang, Baofeng / Xu, Yi (2012): "Production and perception of focus in PFC and non-PFC languages: comparing beijing Mandarin and hainan tsat", In INTERSPEECH-2012, 663-666.