15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

The Role of Post-Lexical Tonal Contours in Word Segmentation

Sahyang Kim

University of California at Los Angeles, USA

The current study examines the role of non-lexical tonal patterns of a prosodic phrase in word segmentation. Seventy- two native Seoul Korean speakers participated in the word spotting experiments. The results showed that listeners spotted more words in phrase initial than in phrase medial position, and that their error rates were significantly lower in rising tonal patterns than in non-rising patterns, regardless of the position of the target words within an AP, and regardless of the frequency and legality of AP tonal patterns. Tonal cues other than pitch rising did not influence the error rate. These results indicate that rising pitch in AP initial position is a reliable cue for word boundary detection for Korean listeners. These findings further suggest that phrasal tone contours serve as a possible word boundary cue in languages without lexical prominence.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Kim, Sahyang (2003): "The role of post-lexical tonal contours in word segmentation", In ICPhS-15, 495-498.