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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Spectral Tilt as a Cue to Word Stress in Polish, Macedonian, and Bulgarian

Katherine Crosswhite

University of Rochester, USA

Word stress in strongly stress-timed languages like Dutch and English is known to be associated with changes in spectral tilt, which are plausibly linked to both increases in glottal effort and increases in perceived loudness. In this paper, I show that this is also true for Polish, Macedonian, and Bulgarian, a group of languages that are prosodically distinct from Dutch and English. Polish and Macedonian are both syllable-timed languages with predictable stress, and Bulgarian is weakly stress-timed with lexical stress. An acoustic measure linked to spectral tilt (phons-dB) was significantly affected by stress in all three languages, an effect that held for all phonemic vowel heights of the languages studied. It is further hypothesized that measures of spectral tilt may therefore be useful in word segmentation in languages with predictable stress.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Crosswhite, Katherine (2003): "Spectral tilt as a cue to word stress in Polish, Macedonian, and Bulgarian", In ICPhS-15, 767-770.