Contributions of the Fundamental, Resolved Harmonics, and Unresolved Harmonics in Tone-Phoneme Identification Researchers describe Mandarin Chinese tone phonemes by their fundamental frequency (Fo) contours. However, tone phonemes are also comprised of higher harmonics that also may cue tone phonemes. We measured identification thresholds of acoustically filtered tone phonemes and found that higher harmonics, including resolved harmonics above the Fo and unresolved harmonics, ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 1992
Contributions of the Fundamental, Resolved Harmonics, and Unresolved Harmonics in Tone-Phoneme Identification
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • James R. Stagray
    Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Clarion, PA
  • David Downs
    Kent State University Kent, OH
  • Ronald K. Sommers
    Kent State University Kent, OH
  • Contact author: James R. Stagray, PhD, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Clarion, PA 16214.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 1992
Contributions of the Fundamental, Resolved Harmonics, and Unresolved Harmonics in Tone-Phoneme Identification
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1992, Vol. 35, 1406-1409. doi:10.1044/jshr.3506.1406
History: Received January 21, 1992 , Accepted May 8, 1992
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1992, Vol. 35, 1406-1409. doi:10.1044/jshr.3506.1406
History: Received January 21, 1992; Accepted May 8, 1992

Researchers describe Mandarin Chinese tone phonemes by their fundamental frequency (Fo) contours. However, tone phonemes are also comprised of higher harmonics that also may cue tone phonemes. We measured identification thresholds of acoustically filtered tone phonemes and found that higher harmonics, including resolved harmonics above the Fo and unresolved harmonics, cued tone phonemes. Resolved harmonics cued tone phonemes at lower intensity levels suggesting they are more practical tone-phoneme cues in everyday speech. The clear implication is that researchers should use the Fo only as a benchmark when describing tone-phoneme contours, recognizing that higher harmonics also cue tone phonemes. These results also help explain why tone-language speakers can identify tone phonemes over a telephone that attenuates selective frequencies, and suggests that hearing-impaired tone-language speakers may still identify tone phonemes when their hearing loss attenuates selective frequencies.

Acknowledgments
The authors thank Donald Gans and Richard Klich for all their help.
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