Congratulations to Wei and Meghan!

Zhang, W., & Clayards, M. (2023). Contribution of acoustic cues to prominence ratings for four Mandarin vowels. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 154(5), 3364-3373.


The acoustic cues for prosodic prominence have been explored extensively, but one open question is to what extent they differ by context. This study investigates the extent to which vowel type affects how acoustic cues are related to prominence ratings provided in a corpus of spoken Mandarin. In the corpus, each syllable was rated as either prominent or non-prominent. We predicted prominence ratings using Bayesian mixed-effect regression models for each of four Mandarin vowels (/a, i, ɤ, u/), using fundamental frequency (F0), intensity, duration, the first and second formants, and tone type as predictors. We compared the role of each cue within and across the four models. We found that overall duration was the best predictor of prominence ratings and that formants were the weakest, but the role of each cue differed by vowel. We did not find credible evidence that F0 was relevant for /a/, or that intensity was relevant for /i/. We also found evidence that duration was more important for /ɤ/ than for /i/. The results suggest that vowel type credibly affects prominence ratings, which may reflect differences in the coordination of acoustic cues in prominence marking.

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