Speech Prosody 2006

Dresden, Germany
May 2-5, 2006

L Tone Downtrends in Korean Across Utterance Types

Kyung-hee Kim

IfL-Phonetik, University of Cologne, Germany

Research on global pitch trends has shown that statements and different types of questions in Dutch all display distinct patterns, and suggests that these may be influenced by the presence of accentual prominence on wh-words and whether syntactic cues to interrogativity are present [1]. This implies that there would be different pitch trends in a language such as Korean which lacks accentual prominence and which does not necessarily have an interrogative syntax in unmarked yesno questions. We test this implication by comparing the results in [1] with similar statements and question types in Korean, concentrating in this paper on the scaling of L tones. Further, we differentiate between the pitch trends towards the end of the utterances and those in the rest of the utterance, so as to investigate the contribution of final lowering to the shape of global trends. Results reveal similar downtrends in Korean, providing evidence against the explanation that syntactic and lexical cues to interrogativity directly influence these downtrends.


  1. van Heuven, V. and Haan, J., 2000. Phonetic Correlates of Statement versus Question Intonation in Dutch, in Intonation - Analysis, Modelling and Technology, A. Botinis (eds), Dordrecht, Kluwer Akademic Publishers, 119-143.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Kim, Kyung-hee (2006): "L tone downtrends in Korean across utterance types", In SP-2006, paper 066.