Speech Prosody 2006

Dresden, Germany
May 2-5, 2006

Lexical Accent Status Affects Perceived Prominence of Intonational Peaks in Japanese

Takahito Shinya

Department of Linguistics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA

This study shows that lexical accent status affects perceived prominence of fundamental frequency (F0) peaks in Japanese. In Japanese, word accent type can be identified from two different sources: lexical accent status and phonetic F0 contour shape. This study examines whether listeners compensate for the accentual boost of an accented word based only on the word’s lexical accent status, when no F0 contour information is available. A perceptual experiment was conducted in which participants judged the relative prominence between two F0 peaks. The experiment showed that for a given second F0 peak height, the first F0 peak height was higher when the first word was lexically accented than when it was lexically unaccented in order for the two words to be equal in perceived prominence. This suggests that the accentual boost of an accented word is subtracted in perception. However, it is also pointed out that another account based on a perceptual compensation for downstep is possible. It is concluded that lexical accent status as phonological knowledge affects perceived prominence of F0 peaks.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Shinya, Takahito (2006): "Lexical accent status affects perceived prominence of intonational peaks in Japanese", In SP-2006, paper 142.