Speech Prosody 2006

Dresden, Germany
May 2-5, 2006

Classification of Statement and Question Intonations in Mandarin

Fang Liu (1), Dinoj Surendran (2), Yi Xu (3)

(1) Departments of Linguistics and Statistics, The University of Chicago, USA
(2) Department of Computer Science, The University of Chicago, USA
(3) Department of Phonetics and Linguistics, University College London, UK & Haskins LaboratoriesNew Haven, CT, USA New Haven, CT, USA

Conflicting reports abound in the literature regarding the critical characteristics of statement and question intonations in Mandarin. In this paper, decision trees with three different sets of feature vectors are implemented to determine the most significant elements in an utterance that signify its sentence type (statement vs. question). For 10-syllable utterances, the highest correct classification rate (85%) is achieved when normalized (to remove the effects of speaker, tone, and focus) final F0ís of the 7th and the last syllables are included in the tree construction. This performance is close to previously reported human performance (89%) for the same testing set. The results confirm the previous finding that the difference between statement and question intonations in Mandarin is manifested by an increasing departure from a common starting point toward the end of the sentence.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Liu, Fang / Surendran, Dinoj / Xu, Yi (2006): "Classification of statement and question intonations in Mandarin", In SP-2006, paper 232.