Stress judgements by na´ve listeners  

Francisco Lacerda & Johanna Molin

Fonetik 2002, the XVth Swedish Phonetics Conference, Fysikcentrum, Stockholm, May 29 - 31, 2002. Quartely Progress and Status Report (Department of Speech, Music and Hearing and Centre for Speech Technology, KTH, Stockholm) 44: 145-148.


This paper reports an experiment on which na´ve listeners were requested to indicate what they perceived to be the perceptually most salient portions of sentences produced in a language that the listeners were not familiar with. The subjects listened to a sentence at a time and could see the corresponding waveform on a display. The task consisted in marking the portion of the signal that was perceived as being most stressed and the portion that was next in degree of stress. No definition of "stress" was given to the subjects and no information was given about the sentences being presented. Although the subjects performed independently and their markers were made in a continuous time scale, there was a surprising consistency in their choices of the stressed portions. The paper will discuss the significance of these results and speculate on the phonetic cues that may have underlined the subjects' judgements.

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