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

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

Prosody In Speech Production: A fMRI Study

Jörg Mayer (1), Grzegorz Dogil (1), Dirk Wildgruber (2), Axel Riecker (2), Hermann Ackermann (2), Wolfgang Grodd (2)

(1) Experimental Phonetics, University of Stuttgart, Germany
(2) Neuroradiology, University of Tübingen, Germany

Clinical observations of distortions of production (and perception) of prosody implicate that distinct, non-overlapping neural circuits are responsible for distinct prosodic cues and functions. These observations motivate a question whether similar evidence can be found in the neurologically intact brain. In our experiments we use new technology designed to reveal the function of active, healthy brain. The experiments are constructed to check the neuroanatomical basis of the PROSODY GENERATOR, a functional unit in the phonological system which integrates and controls the variation of prosodic parameters. The results show that relatively small, non-overlapping, distinct perisilvian areas of both the right and the left hemisphere are involved in the generation of prosody. We found specific activity correlated with the FOCUS accent, the MODUS marker and the AFFECT characterization. The localization appears to correlate best with the address frame of the prosodic cues. These results can not be fully accommodated by any of the existing theories of prosodic representation of speech in the human brain.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Mayer, Jörg / Dogil, Grzegorz / Wildgruber, Dirk / Riecker, Axel / Ackermann, Hermann / Grodd, Wolfgang (1999): "Prosody in speech production: a fMRI study", In ICPhS-14, 635-638.