Poster

Prosodic characteristics of three sentence types in Thai

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Abstract

This study presents an acoustic analysis of three sentence types in Thai (declarative, interrogative, and emphatic) with the goal of providing a basic characterization of their prosody. To investigate prosodic realizations of sentence final syllables, we placed, in a sentence-final position, a target word which varied in one of the 5 lexical tones in Thai. We also varied the tonal context before the target word so that the pre-target word ends with low (21), mid (31), or high (45) tones. Preliminary results from one speaker show that F0 measures, especially f0 maximum, minimum, and range, differed across sentence types. In particular, emphatic sentences were distinguished from non-emphatic sentences by expanded F0 range, whereas target words in questions were distinguished from those in declarative sentences by both higher F0 maximum and minimum. Syllable duration also played a role in signaling emphasis and question: emphatic sentences were significantly longer than non-emphatic sentences, and questions were significantly shorter than declarative sentences. Interestingly, the tonal pattern of the target word changed for the case of emphasis when the target word had 31 and 45 tones. We will present findings from four additional Thai speakers and discuss their relevance to the intonational phonology of Thai.

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... Given the fact that in Thai emphatic context (or emphatic tune), the final syllables of phonological phrases are more lengthened than they do in neutral context [1,2,3], it is suggestive that under this tune, the distinction between narrow and broad focus sentences will be easy to detect. Thus, the emphatic context will be used in this study. ...
Poster
This study presents an acoustic analysis of narrow focus (early focus) and broad focus, each in emphatic context (tune) in Thai, with the goal of providing a basic characterization of their prosody. To investigate prosodic realizations, target words from each of the 5 lexical tones in Thai were placed in subject positions of sentences with SVO structure. Each target word was placed in a sentence in which each syllable contained the same lexical tone as that of the target word. Preliminary results show that F0 measures, especially F0 maximum, minimum, and range, differed between focus types. In particular, narrow focused words were distinguished from non-narrow focused by higher F0 maximum, minimum, and range, while post-focal words contained lower F0 measures. Syllable duration also played a role in signaling narrow focus: focal words in narrow focus sentences were significantly longer than their non-focal counterparts in broad focus sentences. Interestingly, a pitch reset seemed to occur after focused words. Findings from four additional Thai speakers will be presented and there will be a discussion of their relevance to the intonational phonology of Thai.
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