Speech Prosody 2008

Campinas, Brazil
May 6-9, 2008

A Diachronic Study of Prosody Through French Audio Archives

Philippe Boula de MareŘil, Albert Rilliard, Alexandre Allauzen

LIMSI-CNRS, Orsay, France

This study makes use of advances in automatic speech processing to analyse French audiovisual archives. A 10-hour corpus covering five decades of broadcast news is investigated from the angle of prosody evolution. Two prosodic features are explored: word-initial stress (especially in the case of proper names) and penultimate vowel lengthening (especially penultimate nasal vowels before a pause), which may give an impression of emphatic style. Our measurements suggest that the following features as well as mean pitch have decreased since the forties: pitch rise and vowel duration associated with initial stress, and prepausal penultimate lengthening. In the meantime, the onsets of supposedly stressed initial syllables have become longer while speech rate has not changed. This puzzling outcome rises interesting questions for research on French prosody.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Boula de MareŘil, Philippe / Rilliard, Albert / Allauzen, Alexandre (2008): "A diachronic study of prosody through French audio archives", In SP-2008, 531-534.