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

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

Perception of Pitch and Tonal Timing: Implications for Mechanisms of Tonogenesis

David House

Dept. of Speech, Music and Hearing, KTH, Stockholm, Sweden

This paper presents a discussion of tonal categories relating to pitch perception discrimination thresholds and the differences between pitch perception and the perception of tonal timing. Based on the results of a perception experiment using Swedish listeners and tonal timing results from the literature, this paper proposes perceptual mechanisms which may help explain the development of contour tones from level tones. In the perception experiments, listeners were given the task of ranking on a pitch scale /amamam/ stimuli in which rising and falling F0 contours through the second syllable differed in timing and slope. Listeners generally showed much greater tendency to perceive timing differences as pitch differences when the timing differences occurred early in the vowel. It is proposed that level tones may split into contour tones on the basis of their timing related to segments and syllable boundaries.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  House, David (1999): "Perception of pitch and tonal timing: implications for mechanisms of tonogenesis", In ICPhS-14, 1823-1826.