Perceptual Normalization for Inter- and Intratalker Variation in Cantonese Level Tones Inter- and intratalker variation in the production of lexical tones may contribute to acoustic overlap among tone categories. The present study investigated whether such category overlap gives rise to perceptual ambiguity and, if so, whether listeners are able to reduce this ambiguity using contextual information. In the first experiment, native ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 2003
Perceptual Normalization for Inter- and Intratalker Variation in Cantonese Level Tones
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Patrick C. M. Wong
    University of Texas at Austin
  • Randy L. Diehl
    University of Texas at Austin
  • Contact author: Patrick C. M. Wong, Brain Research Imaging Center, Department of Neurology, The University of Chicago, 5841 South Maryland Avenue, MC-2030, Chicago, IL 60637. E-mail: pwong@uchicago.edu
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 2003
Perceptual Normalization for Inter- and Intratalker Variation in Cantonese Level Tones
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2003, Vol. 46, 413-421. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/034)
History: Received March 22, 2002 , Accepted August 22, 2002
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2003, Vol. 46, 413-421. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/034)
History: Received March 22, 2002; Accepted August 22, 2002

Inter- and intratalker variation in the production of lexical tones may contribute to acoustic overlap among tone categories. The present study investigated whether such category overlap gives rise to perceptual ambiguity and, if so, whether listeners are able to reduce this ambiguity using contextual information. In the first experiment, native Cantonese-speaking listeners were asked to identify isolated Cantonese level tones produced by 7 talkers. Identification accuracy was significantly higher when the presentation of items was blocked by talker rather mixed across talkers. In the second experiment, listeners identified the final (target) tone of 6-syllable semantically neutral sentences with f0 patterns of the context (i.e., the first 5 syllables) altered. The same target tone was identified differently depending on the context. In the third experiment, the context portions of stimulus sentences from the second experiment were divided into 2 halves, and their f0 patterns were altered independently. In identifying the target tone, listeners relied more heavily on the f0 pattern of the second (last) half of the context. These results are discussed in relation to characteristic inter- and intratalker variations of lexical tones.

Acknowledgment
Portions of the research were presented at the meetings of the Acoustical Society of America, Norfolk, 1998, and the International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, San Francisco, 1999. The work was supported by Research Grant No. 5 R01 DC00427-07, -08 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders to the second author. The authors wish to thank Dr. Alex Francis and Dr. Valter Ciocca for their assistance in data collection.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access