Intonational cues to prosodic boundary influence perception of contrastive vowel length in Tokyo Japanese

Hironori Katsuda, Jeremy Steffman

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

Abstract / Description of output

We designed two experiments to test how listeners are sensitive to intonational structure in speech perception. Specifically, we tested how phrasal position, cued by pitch in a carrier phrase, mediated Tokyo Japanese listeners' perception of contrastive vowel length. We predicted that when tonal cues signal a target as phrase-final, listeners should expect it to be lengthened due to phrase-final lengthening, effectively requiring longer vowel durations for a phonemically long vowel percept in phrase-final position. We tested this in two experiments, one with an accented target word which contrasted phonemically in the length of the word-final vowel (Experiment 1, shi'sho “librarian” vs. shi'shoo “master”; Experiment 2: dookyo “housemate” vs. dookyoo “townmate”). We placed this target word in a carrier phrase, and manipulated contextual pitch to signal it either as Intonation Phrase (IP) final, or medial. As predicted, a phrase-final target required significantly longer vowel duration to be perceived as phonemically long. The results thus highlight the importance of intonational structure as a mediating factor in listeners' processing of temporal cues in speech. © 2020 International Speech Communications Association. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings Speech Prosody 2020
Place of PublicationTokyo
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2020

Publication series

NameSpeech prosody
ISSN (Print)2333-2042

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • speech perception
  • intonation
  • contrastive vowel lenght
  • Tokyo Japanese


Dive into the research topics of 'Intonational cues to prosodic boundary influence perception of contrastive vowel length in Tokyo Japanese'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this