SRPP: Articulation and prosodic prominence: Evidence from habitual and loud speech

Lena Pagel (IfL Phonetics, University of Cologne)
25 November 2022, 11h0012h30

Speakers vary the degree of vocal effort in speech production to successfully convey a message to listeners. Vocal effort can be globally increased over entire utterances, as in loud speech (Lindblom, 1990; Mefferd & Green, 2010). Furthermore, it can vary within an utterance to locally highlight important information, which is then referred to as prosodic prominence (Cho, 2004; Roessig & Mücke, 2019). This study investigates the interaction of the two levels of vocal effort: If individuals speak loudly with a globally high effort, can they still encode
prominence relations as local effort variations? In this talk, I will present a study on articulatory correlates of prosodic prominence (different focus structures) in habitual and loud speech. 20 German speakers were recorded using 3D Electromagnetic Articulography to capture lip and tongue kinematics. Speakers were engaged in an interactive question-answer task, which elicited two focus conditions (related to local variation of vocal effort) and two speaking styles (related to global variation of vocal effort). The study shows that focus is systematically encoded in supra-laryngeal articulation as a function of local vocal effort variation. Crucially, this can not only be observed in habitual but also in loud speech, a speaking style in which vocal effort is globally increased. The results can be interpreted as underlining the flexibility of the prosodic system in adapting to communicative demands.

Cho, T. (2004). Prosodically conditioned strengthening and vowel-to-vowel coarticulation in English. Journal of Phonetics, 32, 141–176.
Lindblom, B. (1990). Explaining Phonetic Variation: A Sketch of the H&H Theory. In W. J. Hardcastle & A. Marchal (Eds.), Speech Production and Speech Modelling (pp. 403–439). Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Mefferd, A. S., & Green, J. R. (2010). Articulatory-to-acoustic relations in response to speaking rate and loudness manipulations. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 53(5).
Roessig, S., & Mücke, D. (2019). Modeling Dimensions of Prosodic Prominence. Frontiers in Communication, 4, art. 4: 1-19.