Word prominence ratings in Swedish television news readings – effects of pitch accents and head movements

Gilbert Ambrazaitis, Johan Frid, David House


Prosodic prominence is a multimodal phenomenon where pitch accents are frequently aligned with visible movements by the hands, head, or eyebrows. However, little is known about how such movements function as visible prominence cues in multimodal speech perception with most previous studies being restricted to experimental settings. In this study, we are piloting the acquisition of multimodal prominence ratings for a corpus of natural speech (Swedish television news readings). Sixteen short video clips (218 words) of news readings were extracted from a larger corpus and rated by 44 native Swedish adult volunteers using a web-based set-up. The task was to rate each word in a clip as either non-prominent, moderately prominent or strongly prominent based on audio-visual cues. The corpus was previously annotated for pitch accents and head movements. We found that words realized with a pitch accent and head movement tended to receive higher prominence ratings than words with a pitch accent only. However, we also examined ratings for a number of carefully selected individual words, and these case studies suggest that ratings are affected by complex relations between the presence of a head movement and its type of alignment, the word’s F0 profile, and semantic and pragmatic factors.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-64

Cite as: Ambrazaitis, G., Frid, J., House, D. (2020) Word prominence ratings in Swedish television news readings – effects of pitch accents and head movements. Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020, 314-318, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-64.


@inproceedings{Ambrazaitis2020,
  author={Gilbert Ambrazaitis and Johan Frid and David House},
  title={{Word prominence ratings in Swedish television news readings – effects of pitch accents and head movements}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020},
  pages={314--318},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-64},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-64}
}