The role of pitch in lending prominence to syllables

D.J. Hermes, H.H. Rump

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Pitch is one of the prosodic variables that play an important role in lending prominence to an accented syllable. Little is known, however, about which characteristics of a pitch contour are important in this respect. A model will be described in which it is assumed that the contribution of pitch to prominence depends linearly on the difference between the average pitch level in the nucleus of the accented syllable and the average pitch level in the nucleus of the preceding syllable. When excursion size is defined as the difference between upper and lower declination line, a consequence of this model is that, excursion sizes being equal, a fall lends more prominence to a syllable than a rise. An experiment will be described, in which this difference in prominence between a rise and a fall is measured for various declination slopes. The results are in good agreement with the predictions of the model.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWorking Papers 41: Proceedings of an ESCA Workshop on Prosody, Lund, Sweden, September 27-29, 1993
EditorsD. House, P. Touati
Place of PublicationLund, Sweden
PublisherDepartment of Linguistics and Phonetics, Lund University
Publication statusPublished - 1993


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