Marta Ortega-Llebaria

Marta Ortega-Llebaria
University of Pittsburgh | Pitt · Linguistics

Ph.D. in Linguistics

About

39
Publications
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Introduction
I am a phonetician with a background in acoustics, laboratory phonology, and Hispanic linguistics who works on prosody. My overarching research goal is to further our understanding of speech perception. I conduct experimental research to explore: [1] How prosody works in tonal and non-tonal languages; [2] What aspects of L2 prosody are learnable and teachable; [3] Documenting prosody in understudied languages and populations; [4] Links between prosody, stereotypes and attitudes.
Additional affiliations
January 2011 - present
January 2009 - December 2010

Publications

Publications (39)
Article
Full-text available
Cross-language studies have shown that English speakers use suprasegmental cues to lexical stress less consistently than speakers of Spanish and other Germanic languages ; accordingly, these studies have attributed this asymmetry to a possible trade-off between the use of vowel reduction and suprasegmental cues in lexical access. We put forward the...
Article
Full-text available
Long-term experience with a tonal language shapes pitch perception in specific ways, and consequently Chinese speakers may not process pitch in English words – e.g., “Rose?” spoken as a question versus “Rose” spoken as a statement – in the same way as native speakers of non-tonal languages do. If so, what are those pitch processing differences and...
Article
Full-text available
English speakers’ perception of word-stress in Spanish was compared to that of native Spanish controls. All participants performed a word-stress detection task in Spanish declarative sentences and reporting clauses where the identification of a syllable as stressed or unstressed was dependent of the perception of phonetic detail. Phonetic detail wa...
Article
Full-text available
In unaccented contexts, formant frequency differences related to vowel reduction constitute a consistent cue to word stress in English, whereas in languages such as Spanish that have no systematic vowel reduction, stress perception is based on duration and intensity cues. This article examines the perception of word stress by speakers of Central Ca...
Article
Full-text available
In Mandarin Chinese pitch is used to express both lexical meanings via tones and sentence-level meanings via pitch-accents raising the question of which information is processed first. While research with meaningful sentence materials suggested a general processing advantage of tone over pitch-accents, research on pure tones and nonce speech in pre...
Poster
Full-text available
We explored whether examining duration and intensity in addition to pitch in domains other than those of akusento could throw some new insights on the Japanese acoustic expression of Focus. A link to the poster as well as a walkthrough video summarize promising results on this first exploration.
Article
Full-text available
Although learning second language phonology is a difficult task, orthographic input may support the learning of difficult sound contrasts through a process known as orthographic facilitation. We extended this research by examining the effects of orthographic input together with individual differences in three different phonological learning process...
Article
Full-text available
Changing the F0-contour of English words does not change their lexical meaning. However, it changes the meaning in tonal languages such as Mandarin. Given this important difference and knowing that words in the two languages of a bilingual lexicon interact, the question arises as to how Mandarin-English speakers process pitch in their bilingual lex...
Article
Full-text available
In English, positions of lexical stress in disyllabic words are associated with word categories; that is, nouns tend to be stressed more often on the first syllable, whereas verbs are more likely to be stressed on the second syllable (i.e., subject (noun) vs. subject (verb)). This phenomenon, which is called the stress typicality effect, has been s...
Article
Full-text available
This paper documents for the first time the intonation system of Tucumán Spanish, an understudied variety of Argentinian Spanish. Semi-spontaneous speech illustrating the intonation of main sentence types, i.e. broad focus statements, partial and absolute interrogatives, and imperatives and vocatives, was elicited from 31 native speakers of Tucumán...
Poster
Full-text available
In a tone language such as Mandarin Chinese, the same pitch contour-e.g., an ascending F0-conveys information about both lexical meaning via tones-e.g., Tone 2-and sentence-level meaning-e.g., question-via PA. Which information (tone vs. pitch accent) is processed earlier? Li, Yang, and Hagoort (2008) showed that tone violations elicited an N400 ef...
Chapter
Full-text available
Cross-dialect differences might be restricted to prosodic properties, but language dialects can also differ at the segmental level affecting vowel and/or consonantal sound repertoires. Examining infants' ability for cross-dialectal discrimination can be informative about the early availability of cues other than rhythm or intonation. Preliminary da...
Article
Full-text available
Although there is consistent evidence that higher levels of processing, such as learning the form-meaning associations specifi c to the sec- ond language (L2), are a source of diffi culty in acquiring L2 speech, no study has addressed how these levels interact in shaping L2 per- ception and production of intonation. We examine the hypothesis of wh...
Chapter
Full-text available
Infants as young as two months of age have already built a primary level of representation of their native language sound system based on its general rhythmic properties, i.e. duration and intensity information carried by vowels in connected speech. However, this primary level of representation of the familiar language is not sufficient to succeed...
Article
Full-text available
The general literature on the phonetic correlates of stress agrees that duration, and in stress accent languages, F0 are consistent correlates of stress. However, the role of amplitude changes in the speech signal is more controversial. In particular, the conflicting results of spectral tilt as a correlate of stress have been attributed to the effe...
Chapter
Full-text available
While there is an extensive body of research on the phonetic correlates that express broad and contrastive focus in most Romance languages, there are not many empirical studies on this topic for Romanian (Hualde, 2002). In this study we measured patterns of pitch alignment, pitch range and duration in relation to broad and contrastive focus in Roma...
Chapter
Full-text available
In both Spanish and Catalan, narrow contrastive focus and presentational broad focus in nuclear position have different pitch accent choices, namely a rising or a falling pitch accent, respectively. In words with final stress, narrow contrastive focus displays a rise-fall complex pitch gesture in the last syllable of the utterance. This article inv...
Chapter
The general literature on the phonetic correlates of stress agrees that duration, and in stress accent languages, F0 are consistent correlates of stress. However, the role of amplitude changes in the speech signal is more controversial. In particular, the conflicting results of spectral tilt as a correlate of stress have been attributed to the effe...
Article
Previous research shows that speakers of stress-accent languages rely on pitch-accents to perceive word stress in sentences spoken with declarative intonation, while in unaccented sentences, like post-focal contexts, they rely on other cues, i.e., duration in Spanish or vowel reduction in English. However, there is no experimental evidence on the e...
Article
Full-text available
We provide evidence for the perception of the stress contrast in de-accented contexts in Spanish. Twenty participants were asked to identify oxytone words which varied orthogonally in two bi-dimensional paroxytone-oxytone continua: one of duration and spectral tilt, and the other of duration and overall intensity. Results indicate that duration and...
Chapter
Full-text available
According to Sluijter and colleagues (1996a, 1997), stress is independent from accent because it has its own phonetic cues: stressed vowels are longer and have flatter spectral tilts than their unstressed counterparts. However, Campbell and Beckman (1997) show that, for American English, these duration and spectral tilt patterns are a consequence o...
Article
Full-text available
This study assessed the extent to which second-language learners are sensitive to phonetic information contained in visual cues when identifying a non-native phonemic contrast. In experiment 1, Spanish and Japanese learners of English were tested on their perception of a labial/ labiodental consonant contrast in audio (A), visual (V), and audio-vis...
Article
Full-text available
This article is concerned with the acoustic correlates that characterize stress and accent in Catalan and Spanish. We analyzed four acoustic correlates of stress (syllable duration, vowel quality, overall intensity, and spectral balance) in four conditions, namely, stressed and unstressed syllables in both accented and unaccented environments. This...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper examines the effect of inventory constraints and the phonetic factors of stress and vowel context in the lenition of English and Spanish intervocalic voiced stops. Five native speakers of American English and five native speakers of Caribbean Spanish were recorded saying bi-syllabic words containing intervocalic /b/ and /g/. The intervoc...
Article
Full-text available
This study was designed to identify English speech contrasts that might be appropriate for the computer-based auditory-visual training of Spanish learners of English. It examines auditory-visual and auditory consonant and vowel confusions by Spanish speaking students of English and a native English control group. 36 Spanish listeners were tested on...
Article
In both Spanish and Catalan, narrow contrastive focus and presentational broad focus in nuclear position have different pitch accent choices, namely a rising or a falling pitch accent, respectively. In oxytonic words, narrow contrastive focus displays a rise-fall complex pitch gesture in the last syllable of the utterance. This article investigates...
Article
Full-text available
The goal of this paper is to investigate the effects of intonational pitch accents and focus on durational patterns in Spanish and Catalan. As it is well-known, accentual prominence is phonetically different in stress accent languages and non-stress accent languages (Beckman 1986). In stress-accent languages like English or Spanish, accentual promi...

Questions

Questions (2)
Question
Hi,
I am looking for easy-to-use software to create surveys that allow integrating speech data (recording and playing back).
In particular, I want to record a participant's responses first. Then, I want to play back to this participant his/her recorded responses so he/she can make judgements of his/her own speech.
Any suggestions?
Thank you!!!
Question
Any ideas and suggestions of how to continue collecting data, working with participants, get reliable reaction times online, etc are very welcome.

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