How do you whisper a tone language? ("Robert E. Remez" )

Subject: How do you whisper a tone language?
Date:    Tue, 5 Dec 1995 17:52:31 -0500

Malcolm Slaney asks: > How do you whisper a tone language? Or for that matter, how do you whisper > a question? For a partial answer to the first question, see: Abramson, A. S. (1972). TOnal experiments with whispered Thai. In A. Valdman (Ed.), PAPERS IN LINGUISTICS AND PHONETICS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF PIERRE DELATTRE (pp. 31-44). The Hague: Mouton. For answer to the second, I have personal correspondence with Dwight Bolinger about the use of formant frequency variation in whispering to create the impression of pitch variation; but, I don't know whether he was referring to new measurements or to the classic Meyer-Eppler studies from the 1950s. In any case, there is a periodic component to whispering attributable to vibration of the vocal folds (and, perhaps, the false vocal folds). This periodicity in the noisy excitation of the supralaryngeal vocal tract surely contributes to perceptual impressions of intonation in whispered speech. The struggle continues...

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