Speech Prosody 2002

Aix-en-Provence, France
April 11-13, 2002

Acoustic Correlates of Hierarchical Prosodic Boundary in Mandarin

Yufang Yang, Bei Wang

The Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

The aim of this paper is to present a systematical analysis of the acoustic correlates of hierarchical prosodic boundaries. This analysis is based on a large labeled corpus of Mandarin Chinese. The acoustic correlates include the lowest value of pitch and the duration of the silence. The prosodic structure is defined thanks to a perception experiment. The main results are : a) the declination of intonation in Chinese is achieved through the bottom line of the intonational contour ; b) the acoustic correlates of prosodic word boundaries are preboundary lengthening and a slight pitch reset of the bottom line of intonation ; c) the acoustic correlates of prosodic phrase boundaries and intonational phrase boundaries are a significant pitch reset of the bottom line of intonation and the insertion of a silence. Moreover, the higher the prosodic boundary is, the higher the extent of the pitch reset is and the longer the silence is. There is no significant difference on pre-boundary lengthening between the syllables on these two boundaries.

In conclusion, pre-boundary lengthening is the acoustic correlate of weak boundary. Pitch reset is that of medium boundary, while silence is that of strong boundary. The acoustic correlate of lower boundaries can also occur on larger boundaries, but the acoustic correlate of larger boundaries usually does not occur on lower boundaries.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Yang, Yufang / Wang, Bei (2002): "Acoustic correlates of hierarchical prosodic boundary in Mandarin", In SP-2002, 707-710.