1aSC26. Effects of discourse structure on F0 in Japanese: Raising versus lowering.

Session: Monday Morning, December 2


Author: Jennifer J. Venditti
Location: Dept. of Linguist., Ohio State Univ., 222 Oxley Hall, 1712 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43210


Previous studies on English and other languages have shown that discourse structure has an influence on the intonation of a string of sentences or phrases. With respect to fundamental frequency in particular, both discourse-initial raising of F0 and final lowering effects have been reported. The present study examines whether discourse structure also influences intonation in Japanese, and if so, to what extent initial raising and final lowering interact to cue structure. Hierarchically organized discourses were constructed in which the target sentence position was varied. These short discourses were recorded by native speakers of Tokyo Japanese, and the fundamental frequency contours of the target sentences in each position were compared. Results indicate that there is a robust raising effect on discourse-initial phrases, as reported for other languages. The degree of raising is determined by an interaction between distance from the start of the utterance and pitch range. In contrast, there is little effect of lowering on discourse-final phrases. The few phrases that did show an effect suggest that syntactic structure may interact with the lowering process.

ASA 132nd meeting - Hawaii, December 1996