5aSC21. Acoustic (non)consequences of gestural variability in the production of accentual prominence.

Session: Friday Morning, December 6


Author: Jonathan Harrington
Location: Speech Hearing and Lang. Res. Ctr., Macquarie Univ., Sydney, Australia
Author: Janet Fletcher
Location: Univ. of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia


In English, pitch accent placement makes a word prominent. Previous studies have documented that talkers can highlight accentual prominence by such strategies as lowering the jaw more in the stressed vowel of the word. This study examines the acoustic consequences of such supralaryngeal correlates of accenting. Speakers of Australian English produced multiple tokens of dialogues which elicited nuclear-accented and de-accented productions of the names Beeber, Deeder, and Geeger, which have a stressed high front vowel in different consonantal contexts. Recordings were made of tongue--dorsum and jaw movement using the Movetrack electromagnetometer system. The results showed multiple articulatory strategies that varied across talkers and consonantal context. For example, of two talkers that lowered the jaw more in accented syllables, one fronted the tongue to compensate for the jaw lowering in all contexts, whereas another did so only in the velar context. Nevertheless, accenting the word resulted in a consistent raising of the frequencies or amplitudes of spectral peaks in the region of the second and third formants. These results suggest a model of accent as ``localized hyperarticulation'' whereby the talker has multiple articulatory strategies for achieving a perceptual effect of ``sharpening'' the /i/ timbre to increase the word's clarity.

ASA 132nd meeting - Hawaii, December 1996