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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Optical Phonetics and Visual Perception of Lexical and Phrasal Stress in English

Patricia A. Keating (1), Marco Baroni (2), Sven Mattys (3), Rebecca Scarborough (1), Abeer Alwan (1), Edward T. Auer (4), Lynne E. Bernstein (4)

(1) University of California at Los Angeles, USA
(2) University of Bologna, Italy
(3) University of Bristol, UK
(4) House Ear Institute, USA

Three male American English talkers spoke words that differed in lexical stress, and sentences that differed in phrasal stress, while video and movements of the face were recorded. In a production study, stressed vs. unstressed syllables from these utterances were compared along many measures of facial movement, which were generally larger and faster.
   In a visual perception study, 16 perceivers identified the location of stress in forced-choice judgments of video clips of these utterances (without audio). Phrasal stress (54% correct vs. 25% chance) was better-perceived than lexical (62% correct vs. 50% chance). The relation of visual intelligibility to the optical characteristics of production is discussed.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Keating, Patricia A. / Baroni, Marco / Mattys, Sven / Scarborough, Rebecca / Alwan, Abeer / Auer, Edward T. / Bernstein, Lynne E. (2003): "Optical phonetics and visual perception of lexical and phrasal stress in English", In ICPhS-15, 2071-2074.