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

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


Perception of Intonational Contrasts by Japanese and Russian Listeners

Veronika Makarova

The University of Edinburgh, UK

This paper addresses the problem of universal and languagespecific features in intonation perception. It reports the results of a sentence type (declarative, interrogative, exclamatory) identification task performed by Japanese and Russian subjects on re-synthesised one-word two-syllable stimuli with modified rising-falling contours. The effect of parameter manipulations on sentence type perception is investigated. An increase in the height or interval of the rise leads to a decrease in declarative judgement. Stimuli with a rise exceeding 5.2st are not perceived as declarative, which suggests the existence of a categorical boundary in perception. Raising the fall start pitch increases exclamatory and decreases declarative judgement. Raising the fall end pitch has the same effect on the perception by Japanese subjects, but does not influence the perception by Russian subjects. Some significant differences between the two subject groups are found in the perception of stimuli as interrogative and exclamatory, but not as declarative.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Makarova, Veronika (1999): "Perception of intonational contrasts by Japanese and Russian listeners", In ICPhS-14, 1945-1948.