Speech Prosody 2006

Dresden, Germany
May 2-5, 2006

Evidence for Soft Preplanning in Tonal Production: Initial Scaling in Romance

Pilar Prieto (1), Mariapaola D’Imperio (2), Gorka Elordieta (3), Sónia Frota (4), Marina Vigário (5)

(1) ICREA - Universitat Autňnoma de Barcelona, Spain
(2) Laboratoire Parole et Language - CNRS, Aix-en-Provence, France
(3) Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea, Spain
(4) Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal
(5) Universidade do Minho, Portugal

In this study, the scaling of utterance-initial f0 values and H initial peaks are examined in several Romance languages as a function of phrasal length, measured in number of pitch accents (1 to 3 pitch accents) and in number of syllables (3 to 15). The motivation for this study stems from contradictory claims in the literature regarding whether the height of the initial f0 values and peaks is governed by a look-ahead or preplanning mechanism. A total of ten speakers of five Romance language varieties (Catalan, Italian, Standard and Northern European Portuguese, and Spanish) read a total of 3720 declarative utterances (744 utterances per language) of varying length in number of pitch accents and syllables. The data reveal that the majority of speakers tend to begin higher in longer utterances. Results thus confirm recent findings about the need for a certain amount of global preplanning in tonal production. The failure to find a correlation between phrase length and initial scaling for all speakers within languages shows that we are dealing with soft preplanning (in Liberman & Pierrehumbert’s terms), that is, an optional production mechanism that may be overridden by other tonal features.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Prieto, Pilar / D’Imperio, Mariapaola / Elordieta, Gorka / Frota, Sónia / Vigário, Marina (2006): "Evidence for soft preplanning in tonal production: initial scaling in Romance", In SP-2006, paper 132.