13th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Portland, OR, USA
September 9-13, 2012

Perception of Pitch Contours among Native Tone Listeners

Ratree Wayland (1), Donruethai Laphasradakul (2), Edith Kaan (1), Rui Cao (1)

(1) Department Of Linguistics, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA
(2) Department of Thai, Thai Commerce University, Bangkok, Thailand

Level, rising and falling pitch contours were presented to ten native speakers of Thai and fifteen native speakers of Mandarin Chinese for pairwised discrimination in a same-different categorial discrimination task. Their performance was comparable across all contrasts. Both groups were more successful at discriminating the rising from the falling and the level contours, but failed to discriminate the level contour from the falling contour and vice versa. Experience with the native tone systems may partially explain the results. However, the hypothesis that a rising contour may be inherently more psychoacoustically salient than either a falling or a level contour cannot be ruled out.

Index Terms: pitch contour perception, Mandarin, Thai

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Wayland, Ratree / Laphasradakul, Donruethai / Kaan, Edith / Cao, Rui (2012): "Perception of pitch contours among native tone listeners", In INTERSPEECH-2012, 1946-1948.