Enhancement of intonational contrasts in American English

Jennifer Cole*, Jeremy Steffman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

We test a subset of intonational contrasts proposed in the Autosegmental-Metrical model for American English for evidence of contrast enhancement in phonologically and phonetically longer vs. shorter intervals. F0 trajectories were assessed from 32 speakers’ imitated productions of six tonally distinct tunes, e.g., HHH, HHL. Maximally three tune shapes emerge from clustering analyses of imitated f0 trajectories, each cluster comprising imitations of two phonetically similar but phonologically distinct tunes. We find enhancement of tune contrasts between the emergent clusters in measures of f0 differences (RMSD, end f0, center of gravity). There is no evidence of enhancement for phonetically similar tunes grouped within the same cluster, though fine-grained phonetic distinctions are detected for these “lost” tune contrasts, suggesting a reanalysis as within-category variation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 20th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences
EditorsRadek Skarnitzl, Jan Volín
Place of PublicationPrague
PublisherGuarant International
ISBN (Electronic)9788090811423
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2023
Event20th International Conference of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS) - Prague Congress Centre, Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 7 Aug 202311 Aug 2023


Conference20th International Conference of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS)
Abbreviated titleICPhS 2023
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic
Internet address

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • intonation
  • contrast
  • nuclear tune
  • English


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