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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003


Testing a Model of Estonian Intonation

Eva Liina Asu, Francis Nolan

University of Cambridge, UK

In this paper, a descriptive model of Estonian intonational phonology is presented, based on experimental investigation using controlled read materials. This model is tested on a corpus of task-oriented spontaneous speech. Characteristics found on the basis of read materials included a preference for peaked pitch accents which can be labelled as H*+L; the use of some nuclear rises (L*+H); and the occurrence, in statements only, of an H+L* pitch accent in nuclear position, with optional spreading to earlier positions. Phonological analysis of the spontaneous data reveals that the characteristics summarised in the model do apply to spontaneous speech. New phenomena include a possible distinction between two kinds of rising nucleus; the occurrence of a stepping pattern over the intonational phrase; and the confirmation of distributional regularities within intonational phrases with an H+L* nuclear pitch accent.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Asu, Eva Liina / Nolan, Francis (2003): "Testing a model of estonian intonation", In ICPhS-15, 1249-1252.