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

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

Intrinsic Pitch in Mandarin Vowels: An Acoustic Study of Laryngeal and Supralaryngeal Interaction

Pao-chuan Torng, Peter J. Alfonso

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

This study investigated the interaction between the laryngeal and the supralaryngeal systems via acoustic analysis of intrinsic pitch in Mandarin, a tonal language that uses fundamental frequency (F0) as a linguistic unit. The F0, F1, and F2 of three Mandarin vowels /i,u,a/ at all four Mandarin lexical tones for 10 participants were analyzed. Results show that intrinsic pitch is more noticeable in the higher tonal regions as compared to the lower tonal regions. Further, lower F0/F1 correlations for within vowel contrasts across tones compared to across vowel contrasts at the same tone suggests that the active laryngeal control is the primary agent for tone specification.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Torng, Pao-chuan / Alfonso, Peter J. (1999): "Intrinsic pitch in Mandarin vowels: an acoustic study of laryngeal and supralaryngeal interaction", In ICPhS-14, 2149-2152.