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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Pitch Parameters for Prosodic Typology. A Preliminary Comparison of English and French

Daniel Hirst

LPL-CNRS, France

The search for objective paradigms for establishing prosodic typologies among languages is a major challenge for speech science. Recent work in the area of speech rhythm has shown that an appropriate choice of parameters can provide revealing evidence for traditional typological classifications. In the area of pitch there has been less activity. This paper presents a preliminary comparison of pitch parameters for English and French continuous passages from the multilingual corpus Eurom1. Pitch targets derived from the F0 curves obtained from the recordings using the Momel algorithm were compared without taking into account their distribution with respect to phonological, lexical or syntactic constituents. Despite this, the parameters analysed using both discriminant and regression tree analysis gave over 80% correct discrimination between the two languages and pointed to the characteristics of falling pitch movements as being particularly distinctive.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Hirst, Daniel (2003): "Pitch parameters for prosodic typology. a preliminary comparison of English and French", In ICPhS-15, 1277-1280.