5th European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology

Rhodes, Greece
September 22-25, 1997

Perception of Questions and Statements in Neapolitan Italian

Mariapaola D'Imperio (1), David House (2)

(1) Department of Linguistics, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
(2) Department of Linguistics and Phonetics, Lund University, Sweden

This paper addresses the problem of the perception of two different pitch accents in Italian which signal two utterance types (interrogative and declarative). The questions asked concern whether the major perceptual cue to this category distinction involves only the temporal alignment of the high level target with the syllable or if the category percept also depends on the presence of a rising or falling melodic movement within the syllable nucleus. The results show that the primary perceptual cue for questions is a rise through the vowel, while the primary cue for statements is a fall through the vowel. The results bear upon a general theory of intonation and our understanding of intonation in Italian as well as on current models of tonal perception in speech.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  D'Imperio, Mariapaola / House, David (1997): "Perception of questions and statements in Neapolitan Italian", In EUROSPEECH-1997, 251-254.