International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages
With Emphasis on Tone Languages

Beijing, China
March 28-31, 2004

The Effects of Intonation Patterns on Lexical Tone Production in Cantonese

Joan K.-Y. Ma, Valter Ciocca, Tara L. Whitehill

Division of Speech and Hearing, Sciences Univeristy of Hong Kong

This study investigated the influence of intonation patterns on lexical tone identity. The use of intonation in tonal languages poses an interesting research question since changes in the fundamental frequency (F0) of phonation serve two separate functions at the same time: marking of lexical meaning at the syllabic level and signaling intonation patterns at the sentential level. Speech materials of two intonation patterns (question versus statement) with six tonal contrasts placed at different positions (medial and final) were produced by 10 speakers (five males and five females). Dialogue was used for elicitation. Acoustic analysis was performed by measuring the F0 at nine evenly-spaced point from the beginning to the end of the voiced segment on each of the target word embedded. The F0 patterns of each of the six tones were similar for targets in statements and in medial position of questions. In the final position of questions, all six tones were observed to have rising contours. Final tone lowering effect was also noted in statements. The level of the tone at the final position was lowered in statements.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Ma, Joan K.-Y. / Ciocca, Valter / Whitehill, Tara L. (2004): "The effects of intonation patterns on lexical tone production in Cantonese", In TAL-2004, 133-136.