Syllable prominence: A matter of vocal effort, phonetic distinctness and top-down processing  

Anders Eriksson, Gunilla C. Thunberg & Hartmut Traunmüller

Proceedings of EuroSpeech-2001, Aalborg, Denmark, September 3-7, 2001: 399-402.


In this experiment, subjects had to rate the "prominence" of each of the syllables of 20 versions of the same utterance produced by men, women and children at various levels of vocal effort. The ratings were correlated with measurements of the SPL of the fundamental, spectral emphasis, vowel duration, F0max and F0 rise from the previous syllable. Together with ratings of the perceived vocal effort at which the utterances had been produced, these measurements were used to obtain the possible contributions of vocal effort, prosodic distinctness, and vowel duration to the perceived prominence. Together, these accounted for half of the variance. This was compared with the possible contribution of the linguistic structure of the utterance, which accounted for slightly more of the variance. The predictions of a model based on this analysis came closer to the mean than the average subject.

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