Speech Prosody 2006

Dresden, Germany
May 2-5, 2006

Phrase-Final Pitch Discrimination in English

Fred Cummins (1), Colin Doherty (2), Laura Dilley (3)

(1) University College Dublin, Ireland
(2) Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
(3) The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

We investigate the discrimination of phrase final pitch contours within a continuum from statement to question in English. Previous work in German and Dutch has raised questions about the relationship between discrimination sensitivity and category structure within this continuum. To clarify the relationship between linguistic category and simple auditory discrimination, we employ both speech and non-speech stimuli. For all stimuli, we find a discrimination peak at the point in the continuum where a pitch fall changes to a pitch rise. This peak does not appear to be related to the category boundary for speech stimuli, as revealed in a labeling task. Discrimination was somewhat better for non-speech stimuli than speech.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Cummins, Fred / Doherty, Colin / Dilley, Laura (2006): "Phrase-final pitch discrimination in English", In SP-2006, paper 007.