Sophia Linguistica, No. 48, pp. 213-224, 2001 (in German).

Akzentwahrnehmung von Japanern bei technisch kontrollierten F0-Konturen

A. Masaki, M. Takasawa and T. Arai

Abstract: The dominant perceptual cue of accent is said to lie in the fundamental frequency (F0), not only in pitch accent languages like Japanese and Swedish, but also in stress accent languages like English and German. Something not discussed extensively is whether native speakers of different languages use the same cue or whether their perception of accent is influenced by the accentual characteristics of their native language when they perceive accented syllables in another language. In this study we investigate which cues Japanese are more sensitive to when they mark an accented syllable in a two-syllable meaningless word. To compare the results of Japanese subjects with the subjects of other languages we also refer to the results of three non-Japanese. In the stimuli, the F0 contour of both the first and second syllable is controlled. Specifically, the F0-contour of the first syllable varies from falling to rising, while the F0 contour of the second syllable is kept flat. Results show that Japanese subjects are more sensitive to a falling F0 contour than to a rising one. In addition, we find that the perception of accented syllables is categorical, that is, accent is perceived when the first syllable has a falling F0-contour, no matter how steep the declination.

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