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Morpheme-like prosodic functions: Evidence from acoustic analysis and computational modeling

Liu, F; Xu, Y; Prom-on, S; Yu, ACL; (2013) Morpheme-like prosodic functions: Evidence from acoustic analysis and computational modeling. Journal of Speech Sciences , 3 (1) pp. 85-140. Green open access

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Abstract

In this paper we address the long-standing issue of how prosody is linked to meaning. We explore the idea that prosodic functions such as focus, sentence modality, and boundary marking are analogous to lexical morphemes, the smallest sound units that carry meaning. We considered evidence of a four-way similarity between lexical morphemes and prosodic functions. First, similar to lexical morphemes, each prosodic function consists of multiple phonetic components. Second, like segmental phonemes, individual prosodic components are meaningless themselves, but act jointly to mark both intra- and inter-functional contrasts. Third, like lexical morphemes, prosodic functions have allomorph-like variants whose occurrences are conditioned by factors like location in sentence and interaction with other prosodic functions. Finally, similar to lexical morphemes, prosodic functions are language-specific and the specificity has likely historical sources. We examined the evidence by a) reviewing existing literature on speech prosody, b) conducting two new experiments on the production of focus and sentence modality in General American English and Mandarin Chinese, and c) training an articulatory-functional model on focus, modality, tone and stress in English and Mandarin, and synthesizing fully-detailed F0 contours with the learned functional targets. Overall, all the evidence examined is in support of the hypothesis. In particular, the consistency between the target parameters obtained from acoustic analysis and computational modeling, and the close match between functionally synthesized and naturally produced F0 contours demonstrate the plausibility of establishing a clear link between function-specific categorical representations and fine-detailed surface prosody.

Type: Article
Title: Morpheme-like prosodic functions: Evidence from acoustic analysis and computational modeling
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.journalofspeechsciences.org/index.php/j...
Language: English
Additional information: The Journal of Speech Sciences (JoSS) is an open access journal which follows the principles of the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), meaning that its readers can freely read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of any article electronically published in the journal.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1391681
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