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Language and Speech

Bei Wang, Caroline Féry
This paper studies the prosodic realization of dual-focus in German, that is, two foci in a single sentence, with special consideration of the interaction between focus assignment and phrasing. In a production experiment, dual-focus was compared with its initial, final, and all-new counterparts in sentences with subject NPs and VPs of different lengths. The results showed that there were three different patterns of dual-focus realization: (1) The most frequent one was the two-peak pattern (57.8%), that is, a falling tone on both focused words and compressed and lowered pitch in-between; (2) the second most frequent was the two-phrase realization (23...
August 1, 2017: Language and Speech
Melissa A Redford, Vsevolod Kapatsinski, Jolynn Cornell-Fabiano
Verbal children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often also have atypical speech. In the context of the many challenges associated with ASD, do speech sound pattern differences really matter? The current study addressed this question. Structured spontaneous speech was elicited from 34 children: 17 with ASD, whose clinicians reported unusual speech prosody; and 17 typically-developing, age-matched controls. Multiword utterances were excerpted from each child's speech sample and presented to young adult listeners, who had no clinical training or experience...
July 1, 2017: Language and Speech
Yen-Chen Hao
This study examines the discrimination of Mandarin vowels and tones by native English speakers with varying amounts of Mandarin experience, aiming to investigate the relative difficulty of these two types of sounds for English speakers at different learning stages, and the source of their difficulty. Seventeen advanced learners of Mandarin (Ex group), eighteen beginning learners (InEx group), and eighteen English speakers naïve to Mandarin (Naïve group) participated in an AXB discrimination task. The stimuli were two Mandarin vowel contrasts, /li-ly/ and /lu-ly/, and two tonal contrasts, T1-T4 and T2-T3...
July 1, 2017: Language and Speech
Katy Carlson, Joseph C Tyler
Traditionally, pitch accents are understood to relate to the information structure of a sentence and its discourse connections, while prosodic boundaries indicate groupings of words and affect how constituents attach into a syntactic structure. Here, we show that accents also affect syntactic attachment in multiple different syntactic structures. Three auditory questionnaires on ambiguous attachment sentences (such as Tom reported that Bill was bribed [last May]) find that accenting the higher or lower verb ( reported or bribed) increases the attachment of the final adverbial phrase as a modifier of the accented verb...
July 1, 2017: Language and Speech
Lyn Frazier, Brian Dillon, Charles Clifton
Potts unified the account of appositives, parentheticals, expressives, and honorifics as 'Not- At-Issue' (NAI) content, treating them as a natural class semantically in behaving like root (unembedded) structures, typically expressing speaker commitments, and being interpreted independently of At-Issue content. We propose that NAI content expresses a complete speech act distinct from the speech act of the containing utterance. The speech act hypothesis leads us to expect the semantic properties Potts established...
June 1, 2017: Language and Speech
Elizabeth D Casserly, Yeling Wang, Nicholas Celestin, Lily Talesnick, David B Pisoni
Perturbations to acoustic speech feedback have been typically localized to specific phonetic characteristics, for example, fundamental frequency (F0) or the first two formants (F1/F2), or affect all aspects of the speech signal equally, for example, via the addition of background noise. This paper examines the consequences of a more selective global perturbation: real-time cochlear implant (CI) simulation of acoustic speech feedback. Specifically, we examine the potential similarity between speakers' response to noise vocoding and the characteristics of Lombard speech...
June 1, 2017: Language and Speech
Niamh E Kelly, Rajka Smiljanić
The perception of the lexical pitch accents was examined in the Trøndersk dialect of Norwegian. Based on a production study, a categorization of stimuli with manipulated pitch contours was conducted. The experiment tested which acoustic cues (height and alignment of fundamental frequency (F0) minimum, and alignment of F0 maximum and turning point from maximum to minimum) are necessary for the perception of the tonal contrast. The results are consistent with the production findings in that changes in all of the examined acoustic cues contributed to the shift in accent categorization...
June 1, 2017: Language and Speech
Boaz M Ben-David, Michal Icht
Assessments of oral-diadochokinetic rates are commonly performed to evaluate oral-motor skills. However, the appropriate administration protocol is not defined, and varies across therapists, clinics and laboratories. In three experiments and an auxiliary one, this study analyzes the effects of brief (motor) practice and visual feedback on the performance of 98 younger (20-40 years old) and 78 older adults (over 65) with the sequential motion rate (SMR) version. Overall rates were significantly faster for younger over older adults...
June 1, 2017: Language and Speech
Rachel Hayes-Harb, Kelsey Brown, Bruce L Smith
We present an artificial lexicon study designed to test the hypothesis that native English speakers experience interference from written input when acquiring surface voicing in German words. Native English speakers were exposed to German-like words (e.g., /ʃtɑit/ and /ʃtɑid/, both pronounced [ʃtɑit]) along with pictured meanings, and in some cases, their written forms (e.g., <Steit> and <Steid>). At test, participants whose input included the written forms were more likely to produce final voiced obstruents when naming the pictures, indicating that access to the written forms in the input interfered with their acquisition of target-like surface forms...
June 1, 2017: Language and Speech
Yevgeniy Vasilyevich Melguy
It is well known that the way monolingual listeners discriminate speech sounds is strongly influenced by their native (L1) sound system. Moreover, such perceptual constraints are not limited to monolinguals: multiple studies have found evidence of language-specificity in bilingual speech perception. However, the question of whether bilinguals have simultaneous access to both of their phonologies during non-native contrast discrimination has not been systematically examined. Namely, very few studies of bilinguals have specifically examined cases where a non-native contrast pair straddles the boundary between two sound systems, with one sound corresponding to a sound in the L1, and the other to a sound in the second language (L2), but with neither the L1 nor the L2 containing both...
June 1, 2017: Language and Speech
Maria Del Mar Vanrell, Meghan E Armstrong, Pilar Prieto
This paper investigates the role of intonation in the marking of directly-perceived information in Majorcan Catalan polar questions. We conducted a perception experiment in which a total of 72 participants were introduced to a set of twins who were exposed to different types of evidence for a given p(roposition). One twin inferred p based on direct sensory information (via one of the five senses), while the other had been told that p by a third party, that is, reported information. Participants listened to a set of discourse contexts that ended in critical stimuli with three attested combinations of particle/intonation in this variety of Catalan: (1) polar questions produced with a falling nuclear contour ¡H+L* L%; (2) polar questions headed with the particle que 'that' produced with ¡H+L* L%; and (3) polar questions headed with the particle que and produced with a rise-fall L+H* L%...
June 2017: Language and Speech
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June 2017: Language and Speech
Thora Tenbrink, Elena Andonova, Gesa Schole, Kenny R Coventry
This paper addresses the impact of dialogue strategies and functional features of spatial arrangements on communicative success. To examine the sharing of cognition between two minds in order to achieve a joint goal, we collected a corpus of 24 extended German-language dialogues in a referential communication task that involved furnishing a dolls' house. Results show how successful communication, as evidenced by correct placement of furniture items, is affected by: (a) functionality of the furniture arrangement; (b) previous task experience; and (c) dialogue features such as description length and orientation information...
June 2017: Language and Speech
Cornelia Moers, Antje Meyer, Esther Janse
High-frequency units are usually processed faster than low-frequency units in language comprehension and language production. Frequency effects have been shown for words as well as word combinations. Word co-occurrence effects can be operationalized in terms of transitional probability (TP). TPs reflect how probable a word is, conditioned by its right or left neighbouring word. This corpus study investigates whether three different age groups-younger children (8-12 years), adolescents (12-18 years) and older (62-95 years) Dutch speakers-show frequency and TP context effects on spoken word durations in reading aloud, and whether age groups differ in the size of these effects...
June 2017: Language and Speech
Victoria Escandell-Vidal
Three different nuclear pitch accents can be found in Castilian Spanish polar interrogatives. In addition to the 'canonical' low-rise pattern, there are two marked interrogative contours featuring high-rise and rise-fall pitch accents. The aim of this paper is to explain how each contour contributes to the interpretation of the utterance in which they occur. I argue that this contribution is to be sought at the semantic, not at the pragmatic-illocutionary, attitudinal-level. My proposal is that the low-rise contour is the expression of unspecified sentence polarity (corresponding to the interrogative operator), whereas the two marked contours add indications about the information source-that is, they encode evidential distinctions...
June 2017: Language and Speech
Frank Kügler, Caroline Féry
This article is a follow-up study of Féry and Kügler (2008. Pitch accent scaling on given, new and focused constituents in German. Journal of Phonetics, 36, 680-703). It reports on an experiment of the F0 height of potential pitch accents in the postfocal region of German sentences and addresses in this way an aspect of the influence of information structure on the intonation of sentences that was left open in the previous article. The results of the experiment showed that, when several constituents are located in this position, they are often in a downstep relation, but are rarely upstepped...
June 2017: Language and Speech
Heeyeon Dennison, Amy J Schafer
Certain English intonational contours facilitate a conversational implicature that a relevant alternative to the stated proposition does not hold true. We evaluated how frequently and how quickly naïve participants achieved such pragmatically enriched meanings when their attention had not already been drawn to a set of alternatives. Sentences with L+H* L-H% intonational contours, along with broad focus affirmative and negative counterparts, were tested in a pair of experiments. Experiment 1 revealed that most interpretations of the L+H* L-H% sentences evidenced the expected implicature, but a substantial number did not...
June 2017: Language and Speech
John M Tomlinson, Nicole Gotzner, Lewis Bott
Pragmatic inferences require listeners to use alternatives to arrive at the speaker's intended meaning. Previous research has shown that intonation interacts with alternatives but not how it does so. We present two mouse tracking experiments that test how pitch accents affect the processing of ad hoc scalar implicatures in English. The first shows that L+H* accents facilitate implicatures relative to H* accents. The second replicates this finding and demonstrates that the facilitation is caused by early derivation of the implicature in the L+H* condition...
June 2017: Language and Speech
Evie Malaia, Joshua D Borneman, Ronnie B Wilbur
The ability to convey information is a fundamental property of communicative signals. For sign languages, which are overtly produced with multiple, completely visible articulators, the question arises as to how the various channels co-ordinate and interact with each other. We analyze motion capture data of American Sign Language (ASL) narratives, and show that the capacity of information throughput, mathematically defined, is highest on the dominant hand (DH). We further demonstrate that information transfer capacity is also significant for the non-dominant hand (NDH), and the head channel too, as compared to control channels (ankles)...
May 1, 2017: Language and Speech
David M Gómez, Peggy Mok, Mikhail Ordin, Jacques Mehler, Marina Nespor
Research has demonstrated distinct roles for consonants and vowels in speech processing. For example, consonants have been shown to support lexical processes, such as the segmentation of speech based on transitional probabilities (TPs), more effectively than vowels. Theory and data so far, however, have considered only non-tone languages, that is to say, languages that lack contrastive lexical tones. In the present work, we provide a first investigation of the role of consonants and vowels in statistical speech segmentation by native speakers of Cantonese, as well as assessing how tones modulate the processing of vowels...
May 1, 2017: Language and Speech
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