14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999

Connected Speech Processes in Intonation

Bronwen Evans, Esther Grabe

Department of Linguistics, University of Cambridge, UK

Casual speech tends to exhibit a larger proportion of reduced sound segments than careful speech; e.g. she packs shorts, will be /ʃi pæk ʃɔ:ts/ rather than /ʃi: pæks ʃɔ:ts/. In the present paper, we ask whether we can find comparable effects in English intonation.
   Pitch accent distribution in three speaking styles was examined: read, semi-spontaneous and spontaneous speech. The data were taken from the IViE corpus [1], and were transcribed prosodically in the IViE labelling system, an autosegmental-metrical transcription system for comparative intonation analysis. After labelling, pitch accent types were counted and compared. The results showed that in casual speech, speakers used fewer complex pitch accents than in careful speech. Our findings offer support for autosegmental approaches to intonation analysis such as the ones proposed by [2] and [3] which allow for a number of phonological processes in intonation, including continuous speech processes.


  1. Grabe, E., Nolan, F., and Farrar, K. In preparation. IViE - a prosodically labelled corpus of directly comparable speech data from seven varieties of British English in five speaking styles. Research supported by ESRC grant R000237145
  2. Gussenhoven, C. 1984. On the grammar and semantics of sentence accents. Dordrecht: Foris.
  3. Grabe, E. 1998. Comparative Intonational Phonology: English and German. Doctoral Dissertation, MPI Series in Psycholinguistics 7, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Evans, Bronwen / Grabe, Esther (1999): "Connected speech processes in intonation", In ICPhS-14, 33-36.