Methods for defining categories in
intonational phonology:
A check on Italian data
Barbara Gili Fivela
Università del Salento – Lecce, Italy
CRIL – Centro di Ricerche Interdisciplinare sul Linguaggio
[email protected]
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona - May the 14th 2007
Overview

Introduction
 Linguistics and paralinguistics

Intonation, meaning and categories
Methods for defining categories in intonation



Italian data: production and perception
Production, perception, and perception-production:
 Different constraints in production and perception?
 Categorical perception in intonation
Prosody and intonation
• Introduction

• Meaning and
Categories
• Methods
Prosody is due to variation in:
 fundamental frequency (F0)-pitch
 duration-length
 intensity-loudness
• Check on

Italian

• Production
• Perception
• Discussion

speech tempo / speech rate
rhythm
Intonation [Ladd, 1996]
 suprasegmental: F0, intensity, duration
 conveying meaning to phrases/utterances
 organized in terms of categorically distinct entities
and relations
Linguistics and paralinguistics
• Introduction 
• Meaning and

Paralinguistics: independent from the linguistic
message…although it is ‘coordinated in time with the
linguistic channel’ and influences the interpretation of
the utterance [Ladd, 1996: 34]
 Interaction (solidarity, aggression)
 speaker’s attitude
 Emotions (fear, surprise)

“intonation clearly ‘feels’ paralinguistic” [Ladd, 1996: 38]
 same features used for paralinguistic change
Categories
• Methods
• Check on
Italian
• Production
• Perception
• Discussion
Linguistics: the scientific study of language [Crystal, ’91]
(e.g.,voice quality)


over long stretches of speech (e.g. loudness)
affective and interpersonal meaning (e.g. doubt, irony)
Linguistics and paralinguistics
in phonology/phonetics
• Introduction

• Meaning and 
Categories
• Methods

• Check on
Italian
• Production
• Perception
• Discussion

Linguistics:
categorical distinction
Paralinguistics: gradual changes
Segmental level:
 /i/ vs. /u/
ex.it. mito vs. muto; sp. si vs. su
 /i/ vs. /i/
produced while smiling
Suprasegmental level
 Truth value of the utterance
ex. In Saint Petersburg, OFFICERS always escort ballerinas
[Rooth, 1985]

Sentence modality
ex. it. vai vs. vai?
ex. cat. volen una nena vs. ¿volen una nena?

…..produced for conveying surprise
Intonational meaning

• Introduction
British tradition


• Meaning and
functional units, such as head, nucleus, tail [Palmer, 1922]
intonation “involves the occurrence of pitch patterns, each of
which is used with a set of relatively constant meaning, either
on single words or on groups of words” [Cruttenden, 1986:9]
Categories
• Methods

IPO approach

• Check on
Italian
• Production

• Perception

• Discussion
pitch movements, defined through perceptual equivalence,
combined according to a grammar of intonation in
configurations and contours [‘t Hart and Collier, 1990]
intonation features have no intrinsic meaning, its semantics
may be related to syntax, in cases of ambiguity resolution [id.]
Autosegmental theories


sequences of L and H tone targets, belonging to pitch accents
and edge tones [Bruce, 1977; Pierrehumbert, 1980]
pitch accents and edge tones convey both linguistic and
paralinguistic meaning [Pierrehumbert and Hirschberg ,’90;
Kohler,’91; Ladd,’96; Gussenhoven,’04]
• Introduction
Intonation conveys linguistic and
paralinguistic meaning
• Meaning and
Categories
• Methods
• Check on
Italian
• Production
• Perception
• Discussion

The meaning of intonation is considered as a
way to shed light on its form [Ladd,1996: 98]
 linguistic entities
 paralinguistic cues imply modification of the
way phonological categories are realized
Intonation conveys linguistic and
paralinguistic meaning - II
• Introduction

• Meaning and
Tune-based analysis and tone-based analysis
 Meaning conveyed by the whole contour
[Liberman and Sag, 1974]
Categories

• Methods
• Check on
[Pierrehumbert and Hirschberg, 1990]

Italian
• Production
• Perception

• Discussion
Meaning derived from contour’s components
Changes in the form of intonation
 Implying a change in category
 Gradual, for signalling paralinguistic changes
 Due to phonetic implementation
Problems with paralinguistic variation
 High-fall vs. low-fall treated as contrasting in some
analysis and as paralinguistic variants in others
[O’Connor and Arnold, 1973 vs. Crystal, 1969]

Gradient form-meaning relations may be
grammaticalized as discrete [Gussenhoven, 2002]
Biological codes
• Introduction

Frequency code [Ohala, 1983; Gussenhoven, 2002]
 Differences due to phonatory system
 low = dominant-self confidence-assertive mode
 Grammaticalization: statement vs. questions

Effort code [Gussenhoven, 2002]
 Differences due to effort in production
 High =important-surprise-emphasis-focus
 Grammaticalization: focus

Production code [Gussenhoven, 2002]
 Differences due to energy dissipation
 Lowering = end of constituent – finality
• Meaning and
Categories
• Methods
• Check on
Italian
• Production
• Perception
• Discussion
Which information are expressed by
categorical elements?
• Introduction

• Meaning and
Categories
• Methods
• Check on
Italian
• Production
• Perception
• Discussion
Accentuation, focus, phrase signals for indicating
sentence modality, function and meaning
 statement, yn-question [D’Imperio and House, 1997]
 yn- and wh-question, check, focus, continuation
[Cruttenden, 1986, Pierrehumbert and Beckman, 1986, Casper, 1998]

check, query and accessibility [Grice and Savino, 2003]

introducing, committing to presence, and selecting
from background [Gussenhoven, 1984]
new, salient, linked to mutual believes, to be
interpreted with the following [Pierrehumbert, Hirschberg,’90]
finality-knowing, openess-realizing [Kohler, 1987; 1991]




direct, indirect speech acts [Liberman and Sag, 1974; 1975]
topic and comment [Cresti, 2000]
…and by gradient variations?
• Introduction 

Emotions, attitude…
 Perception of paralinguistic form-function relation is
influenced by subject’s background [Chen, 2005]
Degrees of meaning related to the linguistic unit

Openess-realizing and unexpectedness-opposing
• Meaning and
Categories
• Methods
• Check on
Italian
• Production
[Kohler, 1991; 2006]

[Ladd and Morton, 1997]
• Perception
• Discussion
Neutral statement and contraddiction


two different meanings, categorically perceived
Variations in:


pitch range, i.e. scaling of targets on the frequency scale
alignment, i.e. synchronization with segmental chain
Where do categories usually come from?
• Introduction

Production
 categories defined on the basis of speech recordings:
read and (semi)spontaneous speech

Perception
 categories defined on the basis of perception
experiments: IPO approach

Production and perception
 Patterns observed in production
 Perception of different categories checked by means
of perception experiments
• Meaning and
Categories
• Methods
• Check on
Italian
• Production
• Perception
• Discussion

Semantic contrast is no longer sufficient to ‘proof’ a
structural difference
[Kohler, 1991; Ladd and Morton, 1997; Gussenhoven, 2006]
‘Intonational’ and ‘categorical’
• Introduction

In intonation
 contrast: both discrete and gradient
• Meaning and


Categories
categorical = discrete
linguistic = categorical
linguistic = discrete
• Methods
• Check on
Italian
• Production

Production and perception mismatch
 Production data suggest syllable onset as reference
point for alignment [Caspers and van Heuven, 1992; van
Santen and Möbius, 2000]
• Perception
• Discussion

Ladd [1999] ‘segmental anchoring’ hypothesis, but
see data discussed in the literature [Prieto and Torreira,
in print; Loevenbruck and Welby, in print; Gili Fivela, 2004]

Perception data point to vowel onset as crucial for
tone comparison [House, 1990:113]

Perceptual and acoustic tonal targets [D’Imperio, 2000]
‘Perception’ and ‘categorical’
• Introduction
• Meaning and 
Categories
• Methods
• Check on
Italian
Problems with methods for testing (categorical)
perception?
 ‘Even in situations where subjects can make sharp
distinctions between classes, they are still able to
discriminate within a class’ [Ladd and Morton, 1997]
• Production
• Perception
• Discussion

“The ideal experiment […] observes the subject’s
behaviour in a situation as close to natural
conversation as possible” [Kochanski, 2006]
‘Linguistic’ and ‘categorical’
• Introduction

Kohler [2006] observes that according to some theories
of intonational meaning:

• Meaning and
Categories

• Methods
• Check on
Italian
• Production


Analyses of communicative functions and meanings

• Perception

• Discussion
Linguistically relevant elements are discrete and
categorical
Categories of intonation have to be distinguished from
paralinguistic modifications
Only categories are linguist’s concern
few meanings in the linguistic domain (accentuation,
focus, phrasing, sentence modality)
intonation is mainly concerned with paralanguage
(expressive and attitudinal;interactive; speaker
evaluation of events - finality, openess; style)
-> “Categorical perception in the classical sense is therefore a
special case and not essential for pitch categorization”
(see also Newport [1982])
Methods for defining categories
Production
• Introduction

• Meaning and
Categories
• Methods
• Check on
Italian
• Production
• Perception
• Discussion
Speech recordings, both monologues and dialogues
 read speech, proposing specific functions
 (semi)spontaneous speech obtained by means of
various tasks
• e.g., map-task, card games
 Analysis of F0 tracks, in relation to segmental events
 Invariant tonal events, independent of phonetic
modifications
“The ideal general methodology would then be
some kind of cyclicity between test material and
spontaneous speech using feedback from
preceding studies”
[Bruce and Touati, 1990].
Methods for defining categories
Perception - I
• Introduction

Perceptual equivalence [‘t Hart and Collier, 1990]
Structural discreteness tested by means of speaker
intuition of perceptual equality, i.e. ‘passable imitations’
of each other
 ‘passable imitation’ [Odé, 2005; Gussenhoven, 2006]

Categorical perception [Repp, 1984; Gussenhoven, 1999]
 Identification task
• Meaning and
Categories
• Methods
• Check on
Italian
• Production

• Perception


• Discussion

continuum between two phonological categories
stimuli are assigned to either category
abrupt shift
Discrimination task


pairs of stimuli to be judged ‘same’ or ‘different’
expected grater distinction across perceptual boundary
Categorical perception
• Introduction
• Meaning and
Categories
• Methods
CAT I
• Check on
Italian
• Production
%
• Perception
• Discussion
CAT II
Continuum of stimuli
Methods for defining categories
Perception - II
• Introduction 
Perceptual magnet effect [Kuhl, 1991; Schneider et al., 2006]

• Meaning and

Categories
• Methods
• Check on
Italian
• Production
• Perception
• Discussion

each category has a prototype
lower discrimination sensitivity for its neighbours
 Identification task
 Goodness rating
• rating as for very bad/very good exemplar
• individuation of the prototype
 Discrimination task
• prototype and (not necessarily adjacent) neighbour
Semantic difference and scaling [Gussenhoven, 1999]


Gradient and categorical judgments on the presence of a
meaning or its opposite (Grabe [1997] for discussion)
Judgement on the extent to which a meaning is conveyed especially for paralinguistic
On rating scales, see Chen [2005]; Rietveld and Chen [2006]
Methods for defining categories
Perception - III
• Introduction
• Meaning and
Categories
• Methods
• Check on
Italian
• Production
• Perception

Imitation [Pierrehumbert and Steele, 1989; Gussenhoven, 1999]
 continuum between two patterns
 subjects are asked to imitate each stimulus, paying
attention to the intonation pattern
 in case they produce the whole continuum, the
difference is gradient; in case of binomial distribution
it is categorical


• Discussion
‘correcting’ not acceptable patterns [Gussenhoven, 2006]
imitation of their own imitation [Brown et al., 2006;
Kochanski, 2006]
Check on Italian data
Pisa Italian
• Introduction

• Meaning and
Production
 Read speech

Categories

• Methods

• Check on
Italian
• Production
• Perception
• Discussion
(Semi)spontaneous


out of the blue
within context utterances
Map-Task
Perception
 Perceptual equivalence





Passable imitation
Categorical perception
Perceptual magnet effect
Semantic difference and scaling
Imitation
Production
• Introduction

• Meaning and 
Categories
• Methods
• Check on
Italian
• Production
• Perception
• Discussion

Inventory of Pisa Italian tonal events [Gili Fivela, 2004]
Functions
 wh-question: query-wh
 yn-question: query-yn, checks and align
 statements: instruct
 focalization
Structurally distinct units
 three types of nuclear pitch accents: H*, H*+L, H+L*
 edge tones: L-L%, H-L%, L-H%, H-H%
Examples
wh-question
H*
H+L*
e dove
dev(o)
and where
should I
L-L%
andare ?
go ?
yn-question / check
H+L*
hai
did you
H-L%
detto
leggimelo ?
say
read it to me?
Examples
statement
H+L* L-
H+L* L-L%
Allora ripartiamo
then let’s start again
H*
riparti dalla
you begin from
H+L* L-L%
partenza
the start
statement – narrow focus
[L+]H*+L
sarà<aa> un
it will be a
L-L%
centimetro
centimeter
Production: categories and meaning
• Introduction 
• Meaning and
Categories
• Methods
• Check on
Meaning of pitch accents difficult to delimit
 pitch accents are be shared by different functions
 more than one pitch accent type may be exploited
for a specific function
 depending on pragmatic variation
 general meaning, coherently with literature
Italian
• Production
• Perception
• Discussion

Analysis of contrasting characteristics lead to the choice
of transparent, either abstract or detailed, labels
 emphasizing the structurally distinctive
characteristics
 differentiating shared and dissimilar structural
properties
 low target point as starting point of a rise to H*
Examples
Mangia il melone (…)
s/he eats the mellon …
0.1761
0
-0.2469
0
350
statement
broad focus
utterance final
1.22032
Time (s)
H+L* L-L%
0
0
1.22032
Time (s)
0.1326
0
-0.1578
0
350
statement
contrastive focus
utterance final
1.52363
Time (s)
[L+]H*+L L-L%
0
0
1.52363
Time (s)
0.3092
0
statement
broad focus
utterance initial /
(narrow focus)
-0.4992
0
350
0.819728
Time (s)
[L+]H* L0
0
0.819728
Time (s)
Pitch accents under investigation
[Gili Fivela, 2002]
[L+]H*+L L-
C
La pronuncia di
The pronunciation of
lavaglielo
lavaglielo
non (la) ricordo mai
I never remember (it)
[L+]H* L-
B
Perception
Pitch accents under investigation
• Introduction
• Meaning and
Categories
• Methods

Measurements of F0, latencies between targets and
segmental points showed that the accents differ as for
 target alignment
[L+] H*
[L+] H*+L
ms
• Check on
Italian
• Production

Hz
• Perception
• Discussion
target scaling

syllable duration
ms
Acoustic manipulation
• Introduction

Difference of mean values

Number of steps for gradually getting from one
pattern to the other one:
 8 alignment steps: 15 ms
 2 scaling steps: 13Hz(L) - 17Hz(H) - 6 Hz(L)
 5 repetitions
PRAAT – PSOLA resynthesis
Perceval (Aix-en-Provence) for perception test
• Meaning and
Categories
• Methods
• Check on
Italian
• Production
• Perception
• Discussion


Perception of peak accents
[Gili Fivela, 2005]
• Introduction 
• Meaning and
Categories
• Methods
Identification test, manipulating the alignment and
scaling characteristics of stimuli – 10 subjects
‘No. Ho detto velava velocemente’
Alignment
I said velava quickly
Scaling
• Check on
Italian
• Production
• Is it a peremptory and
conclusive correction?
• Discussion • Stimuli are ambiguous as
for pitch height
• Pitch height has a significant
influence on perception
• Perception
1
Media punteggio per C
,9
,8
,7
,6
PR0
,5
PR1
,4
PR2
,3
,2
,1
0
0
1
2
3
4
5
Align steps
6
7
8
Summing up: peak accents
• Introduction

In identifying two peak accents,
 “S-shaped” plots in relation to alignment
 but there was always an ambiguous pitch height
value
 Extremes are categorically perceived
 Pitch height has an influence on ‘when’ a different
pattern is perceived

Discrimination task would be needed
 best with no ambiguous cues
• Meaning and
Categories
• Methods
• Check on
Italian
• Production
• Perception
• Discussion
Peak accents: attention to cues
• Introduction

• Meaning and
In the identification test
 subjects appear to rely on different cues
Categories
Italian
• Production
• Perception
• Discussion
Fa
1,2
1
,8
PR0
,6
PR1
,4
PR2
,2
0
-,2
0
Align
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
Mean of answers in favour of contrastive interpretation
• Check on
Mean of answers in favour of contrastive interpretation
• Methods
Ar
1,2
1
,8
,6
,4
,2
0
-,2
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
PitchRange
Imitation task

• Introduction
ILL
Imitation of same stimuli
(same steps of manipulation)
 contrastive base, 3 subj
Stimulus –
say number - beep –
target imitation
Measurements of (L)HL target
height and latencies: vowel onset-to-H
,19
• Meaning and

Categories
• Methods
Cell Mean for 'dv1H'
,17
,14
,12
c-pr0
,09
c-pr1
c-pr2
,06
,04
,02
-,01
al0
• Check on

Italian
• Production
al1
al2
al3
al4
al5
al6
NI
al7
al8
IL
• Perception
,19
,28
,17
,18
,13
c-pr0
,08
c-pr1
c-pr2
,03
Cell Mean for 'dv1H'
• Discussion
Cell Mean for 'dv1H'
,23
,14
,12
c-pr0
,09
c-pr1
c-pr2
,06
-,02
,04
-,07
,02
-,01
-,12
al0
al1
al2
al3
al4
al5
al6
al7
al8
al0
al1
al2
al3
al4
al5
al6
al7
al8
Examples
Mangia il melone (…)
s/he eats the mellon …
0.1761
0
-0.2469
0
350
statement
broad focus
utterance final
1.22032
Time (s)
H+L* L-L%
0
0
1.22032
Time (s)
0.1326
0
-0.1578
0
350
statement
contrastive focus
utterance final
1.52363
Time (s)
[L+]H*+L L-L%
0
0
1.52363
Time (s)
0.3092
0
statement
broad focus
utterance initial /
(narrow focus)
-0.4992
0
350
0.819728
Time (s)
[L+]H* L0
0
0.819728
Time (s)
Perception
Pitch accents under investigation-II
• Introduction 
• Meaning and 
Categories
• Methods
Absence/presence of a (close) low target preceding a
rise to peak
Measurements of F0, latencies between targets and
segmental points showed that the accents differ as for
 target alignment
H+L*
[L+] H*+L
• Check on
ms
Italian
• Production

• Perception
• Discussion
target scaling
Hz

syllable duration
ms
Acoustic manipulation
• Introduction

Test on perceptual relevance of L+ target [Gili F., 2006]
• Meaning and
Categories
• Methods

Difference of mean values

Number of steps for gradually getting from the broad
focus pattern to the contrastive one:
 5 alignment steps: 22 ms
 4 scaling steps: 15 Hz (+ 1 step 7.5 Hz)
 3 repetitions
PRAAT (PSOLA) Perceval
• Check on
Italian
• Production
• Perception
• Discussion
Perception of falling accents
[Gili Fivela, 2006]
• Introduction 
• Meaning and
Categories
• Methods
Identification test, manipulating the alignment and
scaling characteristics, from a broad stimulus – 10 subj
‘Mangia il melone’
Scaling
s/he eats the mellon
Alignment
• Check on
Italian
• Does it correct a
preceeding utterance?
• Discussion • Stimuli are ambiguous as
for pitch height
• Pitch height has a small
influence on perception
• Perception
Contrastive focus: mean of positive answers
• Production
1
,9
,8
,7
0
,6
H2
,5
H4
,4
H6
,3
H8
,2
,1
0
-,1
0
al1
al2
al3
al4
Steps of align manipulation
al5
Falling accents: attention to cues
• Introduction

• Meaning and
In the identification test
 subjects appear to rely on different cues
Categories
• Methods
• Production
• Perception
• Discussion
Contrastive focus: mean of positive answers
Italian
MA
1,1
1
,9
,8
,7
,6
,5
,4
,3
,2
,1
0
-,1
0
H2
H4
H6
H8
0
al1
Align
al2
al3
al4
al5
Contrastive focus: mean of positive answers
FV
• Check on
1,1
1
,9
,8
,7
,6
,5
,4
,3
,2
,1
0
-,1
0
H2
H4
H6
H8
0
al1
al2
al3
al4
al5
PitchRange
Is there a base effect ?
• Introduction
• Meaning and
Categories

Identification test, manipulating the alignment and
scaling characteristics, from a contrastive stimulus
12 subjects
Alignment
Scaling
• Methods
• Check on
Italian
• Perception
• Discussion
• No S-shaped plot
• Stronger influence of
pitch height
• Extremes are
categorically perceived
Contrastive Focus: Mean of positive answers
• Production
1
,9
,8
0
,7
C-0
,6
C-noL-H2
,5
C-noL-H4
,4
C-noL-H6
,3
C-noL-H8
,2
C-noL-H9
,1
0
-,1
0
al1
al2
al3
al4
al5
Summary and comments

• Introduction
In identifying two falling accents,
 No S-shaped plots in relation to alignment

• Meaning and

Categories

• Methods
• Check on
• Production
Pitch height alone has an influence, at least when a
contrastive base is considered

Italian

• Perception


other correlates? Syllable duration?
Possible reasons for these results:
Ambiguity in function or meaning?
 Same phonological categories

• Discussion
but there was always an ambiguous pitch height value
not even categorically perceived (broad base)
not gradient variation in production
coherent, at least partly, with Gussenhoven’s hypothesis
Not appropriated task
 more articulated context: question-answer sequence?
 sentence modality: question (check) vs statement?
What about a different task ?
‘Question-answer’
• Introduction
• Meaning and
Identification test, from both broad and contrastive base
– 11/12 subjects
Sequence of question-answer
 Broad context: broad focus answer expected
Cosa succede
what’s up?
 Is the answer adeguated to the question?
Same results !


Categories
• Methods
• Check on
Italian

• Production
Broad focus base
• Perception
Contrastive focus base
1
1,2
1
0
C
,8
H2
H4
,6
H6
,4
H8
H9
,2
Cell Mean for Medie YES
• Discussion
Cell Mean for answer YES
,9
,8
,7
,6
,5
,4
,3
,2
,1
0
0
0
al1
al2
al3
al4
al5
0
al1
al2
al3
al4
al5
What about a different task ?
‘Is it a question?’
• Introduction
• Meaning and
Categories


• Methods
• Check on
Italian
Identification test, from broad base - 13 subjects
Utterance in isolation
 Need to set up a quite complex context based on
mutual believes
 Could you interpret it as a check of information?
Would you give a yes/no answer?
• Production
• Discussion

Subjects were
actually giving
answers that were
exactly the opposit
of expected ones !
Too difficult task
1,1
1
Cell Mean for Answers YES
• Perception

,9
0
,8
C
,7
H2
,6
H4
,5
H6
,4
H8
,3
H9
,2
,1
0
0
al1
al2
al3
al4
al5
Imitation task
Distance of peak from syllable onset (ms)
• Introduction
Imitation of same stimuli
ILL
(same steps of manipulation)
 contrastive base – 3 subj
Stimulus - beep imitation – say a number target imitation
Measurements of (L)HL target height
and latencies: syllable onset-to-H

• Meaning and
Categories

• Methods
• Check on
Italian
,15
,13
,1
C-0
,05
C-H2
,03
C-H4
0
C-H6
C-H8
-,03
C-H9
-,05
-,08
-,1
0

0
,08
al1
al2
al3
al4
al5
• Production
NI
IL
,17
,15
,13
0
,1
C-0
,08
C-H2
,05
C-H4
,02
C-H6
C-H8
0
C-H9
-,03
-,05
-,08
0
al1
al2
al3
al4
al5
Distance of peak from syllable onset (ms)
• Discussion
Distance of peak from syllable onset (ms)
• Perception
,16
,14
,12
0
,1
C-0
,08
C-H2
,06
C-H4
,04
C-H6
C-H8
,02
C-H9
0
-,02
-,04
0
al1
al2
al3
al4
al5
Discrimination: falling accents
Pairs: AB and AA

• Introduction
• Meaning and
Categories
B with either higher or later peak [Ladd and Morton, 1997]
 From both broad and contrastive base
Same or different?
9 subjects



• Methods
No discrimination !
 Reaction times give no information
1700
,8
1650
,4
,2
1600
1550
1500
Cal5-Cal4
1400
Cal4-Cal3
-,2
Cal3-Cal2
1450
Cal2-Cal1
0
Cal5-Cal4
,6
Cal4-Cal3
Cell Mean for ReactTime
1
Cal1-C0
• Discussion
Cell Mean for Mean NO
• Perception
reaction times
Cal3-Cal2
discrimination scores
Cal2-Cal1
• Production
Cal1-C0
Italian
C0-C0

C0-C0
• Check on
1000
Cal5-Cal4
Cal4-Cal3
Cal3-Cal2
NI
2600
2400
2200
IL
2000
1800
1600
1400
Cell Mean for ReactTime
0
-,2
-,2
2000
1900
1400
1200
1500
Cal5-Cal4
1600
Cal5-Cal4
1700
Cal4-Cal3
1800
Cal4-Cal3
IL
Cal3-Cal2
2100
Cal3-Cal2
3200
Cal2-Cal1
reaction times
Cal2-Cal1
,2
Cal1-C0
,4
,8
Cal1-C0
,6
Cell Mean for Mean NO
NI
C0-C0
Cal5-Cal4
Cal4-Cal3
Cal3-Cal2
Cal2-Cal1
Cal1-C0
1
C0-C0
2800
Cal2-Cal1
3000
Cal1-C0
0
C0-C0
Cell Mean for Mean NO
,8
C0-C0
Cell Mean for ReactTime
discrimination scores
1
IL
,6
,4
,2
Summary
• Introduction

Production data quite straightforwardly showed the
existence of (patterns) pitch accents related to
functions/meanings

Perception data seem to be far more problematic:
 Reason may be that they have being
investigated teasing alignment and scaling apart
 In any case, the H* vs H*+L contrast appears to
be perceptually more different that the H*+L
H+L* contrast
 Probably only one phonological distinction
• Meaning and
Categories
• Methods
• Check on
Italian
• Production
• Perception
• Discussion
Summary
• Introduction

• Meaning and
Two peak accents: [L+]H* vs [L+]H*+L
 “S-shaped” identification results
Categories

• Methods
• Check on
Italian
• Production
• Perception
• Discussion
but not all speakers appear to pay attention to the
same cues
Extremes are correctly identified
 2 out of three speakers appears to perform the
imitation task
 They both imitate the continuum by creating
two different classes as for the peak distance
to vowel onset

Summary
• Introduction

• Meaning and
Categories
• Methods
• Check on
Italian
• Production
• Perception
• Discussion

Two falling accents: [L+]H*+L vs H+L*
 No S-shaped identification results
 and not all speakers appear to pay attention to the
same cues
 Extremes are correctly identified
 2 out of three speakers appears to perform the task
 One speaker creates two different classes as for
the peak alignment
 One speaker creates a continuum of alignment
differences
Raction times, in general, give no information, but
 looking at the ‘discriminator’ speaker: Trend in the
direction of categorical peak and coherent
information for reaction time
Improvements
• Introduction

Methods could be improved
 Gussenhoven proposal of ‘passable imitation’
 Perceptual Magnet Effect rather than traditional
CP, in particular for the discrimination task

Experiments to be runned without teasing apart
correlates
• Meaning and
Categories
• Methods
• Check on
Italian
• Production
• Perception
• Discussion
Examples
Mangia il melone (…)
s/he eats the mellon …
0.1761
0
-0.2469
0
350
statement
broad focus
utterance final
1.22032
Time (s)
H+L* L-L%
0
0
1.22032
Time (s)
0.1326
0
-0.1578
0
350
statement
contrastive focus
utterance final
1.52363
Time (s)
[L+]H*+L L-L%
0
0
1.52363
Time (s)
0.3092
0
statement
broad focus
utterance initial /
(narrow focus)
-0.4992
0
350
0.819728
Time (s)
[L+]H* L0
0
0.819728
Time (s)
Discussion

• Introduction
• Meaning and
Categories
• Methods
• Check on

Italian
• Production
• Perception
• Discussion

Problem due to the form of intonation
 especially in the second sets of experiments, pitch
accents were formally really different
 Proportional change of all the features needed
 The resynthesis of continua is reasonable to apply for
similar patterns
Problem due to meaning/function of intonation
 general meanings
 functions expressed by the same pitch accent
Both production and perception should be taken into
consideration in deciding whether there is a contrast
 Production could be more robust than perception
 need of producing redundant features
 perception within the context of strictly linguistic
message
…and discussion
• Introduction

• Meaning and

Categories
Phonological perception should say something on
the properties of phonic chain
However intonation has also being described in
terms of morphemes
• Methods
• Check on

Italian
• Production
• Perception
• Discussion

Morphemes
 have meanings
 may select different meaning of a base
(message?)
 among their meanings, one may be selected
depending on the base (message?)
Intonational units have a meaning/function even
though they are not categorically perceived ?
If a language does not show a contrast that is adapt
for perceptual testing,
does it really mean that the language does not
exploit a/that phonological contrast?
In Saint Petersburg, OFFICERS always escort ballerinas
or
In Saint Petersburg, officers always escort BALLERINAS
….in Pisa as well……
THANK
YOU!
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La lingua parlata: prosodia ed interpretazione