Speech Prosody 2012

Shanghai, China
May 22-25, 2012

Proper-Name Identification

Joost van de Weijer (1), Jeroen van de Weijer (2), Yan Beili (2)

(1) Center for Languages and Literature, Lund University, Sweden
(2) Shanghai International Studies University, Shanghai, China

In a series of three experiments, we investigated whether proper names (like John, Anna, Henry) are more easily identifiable in spoken language than common nouns. In the first two experiments, participants listened to utterances in an unfamiliar language, and had to guess which of two words was a name. In the third experiment, listeners had to select whether a missing word in a spoken sentence was a name or a noun. Together, the results of the three experiments indicated that 1) names may be distinct acoustically from nouns; 2) this distinction interacts with the word's position in the sentence; and 3) the information is probably not in the word's context, but in the word itself.

Index Terms: proper nouns, names, common nouns

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Weijer, Joost van de / Weijer, Jeroen van de / Beili, Yan (2012): "Proper-name identification", In SP-2012, 729-732.