Speech Prosody 2006

Dresden, Germany
May 2-5, 2006

A Comparative Study of Sentential Stress Distribution in Mandarin Multi-Style Speeches

Mingzhen Bao (1), Min Chu (2)

(1) University of Florida, USA; (2) Microsoft Research Asia, Beijing, China

This paper compares the distribution of sentential stresses among three speaking styles: Lyric, Critical, and Explanatory; and extends our previous study in the base phrase level to the sentence construction level and the prosodic word level. The results show that 1) The distributions of both rhythmic and semantic stresses act the same among styles within prosodic words, although the distribution tendencies change due to different structure properties of the words; 2) In the sentence construction level, the distribution tendency of rhythmic stress is quite similar across three styles in most construction types, while semantic stress presents more diversity among speaking styles. The Explanatory style shares a similar tendency with the Neutral style. The Lyric style differs from the Neutral style in constructions with the subject-predicate structure; the Critical style differs in constructions with the predicate-object, the adjunct-subject, and the adjunct-object structures. Generally, speaking styles have fewer effects on rhythmic stress distribution than on semantic stress. Such effects are more obvious in the sentence construction and the base phrase levels than the prosodic word level, where syntax plays a more crucial role in stress distribution.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Bao, Mingzhen / Chu, Min (2006): "A comparative study of sentential stress distribution in Mandarin multi-style speeches", In SP-2006, paper 129.