Intonation: Theory, Models, and Applications

Athens, Greece
September 18-20, 1997


Intonation Contours "Distorted" by Tone Patterns of Stress Groups and Word Accents

Tom Brondsted

University of Aalborg, Center for PersonKommunikation, Aalborg 0st, Denmark

The present paper discusses the question if the interrogative vs. declarative mode of (short, elliptical) utterances can be determined solely by observing the pitch over time. To some extent, this may implicitly be claimed by a widespread analytic model according to which intonation should be specified in terms of a running summation of local ups and downs. Certainly, in speech technology the same thing is claimed very directly by designers of stochastic prosodic classifiation modules trained on nothing but F0 contours. The paper concludes that this concept in many cases is too simple. Intonation contours may be "destorted" by local tone patterns of smaller units constituting the utterances- The smaller units discussed are stress groups and words or syllables. We suggest that a simple acoustic parameter "energy" is added to the F0 contour. The paper concentrates on Danish, however, attempts to relate the conclusions to other stress-timed languages and other languages with word accents.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Brondsted, Tom (1997): "Intonation contours "distorted" by tone patterns of stress groups and word accents", In INT-1997, 55-58.