Speech Prosody 2004

Nara, Japan
March 23-26, 2004

A Preliminary Analysis of Focus and Ending in Chinese Intonation

Wen Cao

Center of the Chinese Proficiency Test, Beijing Language and Culture University, China Department of Chinese Language & Literature, Peking University, China

The present paper investigates the issue of focus types and the ending situations in Chinese declarative and interrogative intonations. Differing only in focus of each, 5 statement sentences and 5 interrogative sentences with the same words and the same syntax in Chinese are designed for the experiment. A male Standard Chinese speaker reads them in random order three times. The results show that there are two types of foci in Chinese intonation: H* and L*, subject to Chinese lexical tone features. Besides, both H* and L* can be identified by the D-value between the two H peaks. In particular, the shift of the focus location seems to have effects on boundary tone H%. The findings in this research seem to be able to make Chinese intonation curves somewhat predictable.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Cao, Wen (2004): "A preliminary analysis of focus and ending in Chinese intonation", In SP-2004, 107-110.