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Voice Quality

By John H. Esling, Scott R. Moisik, Allison Benner, Lise Crevier-Buchman

Voice Quality "The first description of voice quality production in forty years, this book provides a new framework for its study: The Laryngeal Articulator Model. Informed by instrumental examinations of the laryngeal articulatory mechanism, it revises our understanding of articulatory postures to explain the actions, vibrations and resonances generated in the epilarynx and pharynx."

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Let's Talk

By David Crystal

Let's Talk "Explores the factors that motivate so many different kinds of talk and reveals the rules we use unconsciously, even in the most routine exchanges of everyday conversation."

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Dissertation Information

Title: Cross-linguistic Perception and Learning of Japanese Lexical Prosody by English Listeners Add Dissertation
Author: Irina Shport Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Oregon, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 2011
Linguistic Subfield(s): Applied Linguistics; Phonetics; Phonology; Psycholinguistics; Cognitive Science; Language Acquisition;
Subject Language(s): Japanese
Language Family(ies): Japanese Family
Director(s): Vsevolod Kapatsinski
Melissa Redford
Kaori Idemaru
Susan Guion Anderson

Abstract: The focus of this dissertation is on how language experience shapes
perception of a non-native prosodic contrast. In Tokyo Japanese,
fundamental frequency (F0) peak and fall are acoustic cues to lexically
contrastive pitch patterns, in which a word may be accented on a particular
syllable or unaccented (e.g., tsúru ‘a crane’, tsurú ‘a vine’, tsuru ‘to
fish’). In English, lexical stress is obligatory, and it may be reinforced
by F0 in higher-level prosodic groupings. Here I investigate whether
English listeners can attend to F0 peaks as well as falls in contrastive
pitch patterns and whether training can facilitate the learning of prosodic

In a series of categorization and discrimination experiments, where F0 peak
and fall were manipulated in one-word utterances, the judgments of
prominence by naïve English listeners and native Japanese listeners were
compared. The results indicated that while English listeners had phonetic
sensitivity to F0 fall in a same-different discrimination task, they could
not consistently use the F0 fall to categorize F0 patterns. The effects of
F0 peak location and F0 fall on prominence judgments were always larger for
Japanese listeners than for English listeners. Furthermore, the interaction
between these acoustic cues affected perception of the contrast by
Japanese, but not English listeners. This result suggests that native, but
not non-native, listeners have complex and integrated processing of these cues.

The training experiment assessed improvement in categorization of Japanese
pitch patterns with exposure and feedback. The results suggested that
training improved identification of the accented patterns, which also
generalized to new words and new contexts. Identification of the unaccented
pattern, on the other hand, showed no improvement. Error analysis indicated
that native English listeners did not learn to attend specifically to the
lack of the F0 fall.

To conclude, language experience influences perception of prosodic
categories. Although there is some sensitivity to F0 fall in non-native
listeners, they rely mostly on F0 peak location in language-like tasks such
as categorization of pitch patterns. Learning of new prosodic categories is
possible. However, not all categories are learned equally well, which
suggests that first language attentional biases affect second language
acquisition in the prosodic domain.