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

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


Prosodic Differences and Similarities between Mandarin and French in Declarative, Interrogative, Surprise, and Doubt Expressions

Jean-Marc Dubost, Tzu-ting Su

Institut de Phonétique, University of Sorbonne Nouvelle, CNRS / UPRESA 7018, Paris, France

This study concerns the use of intonation in a tone language, Taiwanese Mandarin, and a language without phonological lexical stress, French. Declarative, interrogative, surprise and doubt were studied. Perceptual analysis shows that In Mandarin, the absence of a specific lexical marker limits drastically the possibility to identify interrogative and doubt expressions. Surprise is better identified,. In French, on the contrary lexical markers seem to be entirely optional, while intonation is decisive. Acoustic analysis shows that in French F0 rises and falls contours are much more modulated than in Mandarin, where F0 contours are quite similar in all modalities and attitudes, and where it is more the pitch level that differs. Nevertheless, there is some similar use of F0 in both languages: it increases from declarative to interrogative then to surprise. Surprise affects more duration and intensity than the other modalities and attitudes.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Dubost, Jean-Marc / Su, Tzu-ting (1999): "Prosodic differences and similarities between Mandarin and French in declarative, interrogative, surprise, and doubt expressions", In ICPhS-14, 1561-1564.