Speech Prosody 2008

Campinas, Brazil
May 6-9, 2008

Broad Focus vs Contrastive Focus: Is there Categorical Perception in Pisa Italian?

Barbara Gili Fivela

University of Salento & CRIL; Lecce, Italy

The paper reports the results of a perception experiment run in order to test whether two pitch accents are categorically perceived. The pitch accents under investigation are found in nuclear position, in Pisa Italian broad focus and contrastive focus phrases.

The perception experiment is run within the Categorical Perception paradigm, i.e. by testing both the identification and the discrimination of stimuli that represent a continuum of variation from one pattern to the other. In particular, in order to ensure that the results do not depend on possible limits in the task used for the identification test, the same continuum of stimuli is proposed in three different tasks. The results of both the identification test - three tasks - and the discrimination test are then discussed with reference to the criticism found in the literature on the use of Categorical Perception paradigm for investigating intonation.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Gili Fivela, Barbara (2008): "Broad focus vs contrastive focus: is there categorical perception in Pisa Italian?", In SP-2008, 293-296.