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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Acoustic Correlates of Monosyllabic Utterances of Japanese in Different Speaking Styles

Akemi Iida (1), Parham Mokhtari (1), Nick Campbell (2)

(1) JST/CREST, Japan
(2) ATR-HIS, Japan

This paper describes our research into the relation between paralinguistic information and acoustic features of monosyllabic, typically backchannel and filler utterances in Japanese. For this study, we extracted 141 examples of "hai", "un", and "ah" from recordings of spontaneous conversational speech from one Japanese female. These utterances can function differently according to the speaker's intention and tone of voice. We show in this paper that prosodic differences can affect the perceived meaning of each of these three utterance types. We first subcategorized them into three types each (i.e., affirmative, reflective, and turn-holding) based on the perceived intention of the speaker and then performed an acoustic analysis for each occurrence, and compared their acoustic characteristics, i.e., F0, duration, energy, and a normalized amplitude quotient (NAQ) that measures breathiness. The results showed that affirmative utterances were typically produced with a higher fundamental frequency and with more energy than reflective and turn-holding ones. The latter had higher values of duration and NAQ, enabling all three types to be distinguished, with respect to functional intention, on the basis of their prosody alone.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Iida, Akemi / Mokhtari, Parham / Campbell, Nick (2003): "Acoustic correlates of monosyllabic utterances of Japanese in different speaking styles", In ICPhS-15, 2861-2864.