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Phonetic and phonological imitation of intonation in two varieties of Italian.

D'Imperio M, Cavone R, Petrone C - Front Psychol (2014)

Bottom Line: Our results show that phonetic detail of tonal alignment can be successfully modified by both BI and NI speakers when imitating a model speaker of the other variety.Moreover the effect was significantly stronger for low frequency words.Hence, our data show that intonation imitation leads to fast modification of both phonetic and phonological intonation representations including detail of tonal alignment and pitch scaling.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: CNRS, LPL, UMR 7309, Aix-Marseille Université Aix-en-Provence, France ; Institut Universitaire de France Paris, France.

ABSTRACT
The aim of this study was to test whether both phonetic and phonological representations of intonation can be rapidly modified when imitating utterances belonging to a different regional variety of the same language. Our main hypothesis was that tonal alignment, just as other phonetic features of speech, would be rapidly modified by Italian speakers when imitating pitch accents of a different (Southern) variety of Italian. In particular, we tested whether Bari Italian (BI) speakers would produce later peaks for their native rising L + H(*) (question pitch accent) in the process of imitating Neapolitan Italian (NI) rising L(*) + H accents. Also, we tested whether BI speakers are able to modify other phonetic properties (pitch level) as well as phonological characteristics (changes in tonal composition) of the same contour. In a follow-up study, we tested if the reverse was also true, i.e., whether NI speakers would produce earlier peaks within the L(*) + H accent in the process of imitating the L + H(*) of BI questions, despite the presence of a contrast between two rising accents in this variety. Our results show that phonetic detail of tonal alignment can be successfully modified by both BI and NI speakers when imitating a model speaker of the other variety. The hypothesis of a selective imitation process preventing alignment modifications in NI was hence not supported. Moreover the effect was significantly stronger for low frequency words. Participants were also able to imitate other phonetic cues, in that they modified global utterance pitch level. Concerning phonological convergence, speakers modified the tonal specification of the edge tones in order to resemble that of the other variety by either suppressing or increasing the presence of a final H%. Hence, our data show that intonation imitation leads to fast modification of both phonetic and phonological intonation representations including detail of tonal alignment and pitch scaling.

No MeSH data available.


Yes–no question utterance Lo adorava? ‘Did he/she adore it?’ produced by a BI speaker (upper) and by the model NI speaker (lower). The straight line indicates the syllabic boundaries for each word of the sentence; while, the dashed line indicates the alignment point of the nuclear pitch accent (L + H*/L* + H).
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Figure 1: Yes–no question utterance Lo adorava? ‘Did he/she adore it?’ produced by a BI speaker (upper) and by the model NI speaker (lower). The straight line indicates the syllabic boundaries for each word of the sentence; while, the dashed line indicates the alignment point of the nuclear pitch accent (L + H*/L* + H).

Mentions: For the purpose of this study, the selected tunes were all yes/no questions. Our choice was dictated by the fact that the main pitch accent is a LH rise in both Italian varieties under study (Bari and NI, see Grice et al., 2005), though having different association and alignment properties allowing us to test phonetic convergence against the selective imitation hypothesis, as detailed below. Note that in Italian yes/no questions lack a specific morpho-syntactic marking and can be solely expressed by intonation. In particular, the primary cue to interrogation in the Southern varieties is a rising LH pitch accent (L + H* in BI and L* + H in Neapolitan, cf. D’Imperio, 2000; Grice et al., 2005), immediately followed by a phrasal fall or a rise. The main cross-variety difference is that the accentual peak is reached around the middle of the accented syllable in BI, while it is reached later (at the offset of the nuclear syllable) in Neapolitan (D’Imperio, 2002). This alignment contrast is shown in Figure 1.


Phonetic and phonological imitation of intonation in two varieties of Italian.

D'Imperio M, Cavone R, Petrone C - Front Psychol (2014)

Yes–no question utterance Lo adorava? ‘Did he/she adore it?’ produced by a BI speaker (upper) and by the model NI speaker (lower). The straight line indicates the syllabic boundaries for each word of the sentence; while, the dashed line indicates the alignment point of the nuclear pitch accent (L + H*/L* + H).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4219553&req=5

Figure 1: Yes–no question utterance Lo adorava? ‘Did he/she adore it?’ produced by a BI speaker (upper) and by the model NI speaker (lower). The straight line indicates the syllabic boundaries for each word of the sentence; while, the dashed line indicates the alignment point of the nuclear pitch accent (L + H*/L* + H).
Mentions: For the purpose of this study, the selected tunes were all yes/no questions. Our choice was dictated by the fact that the main pitch accent is a LH rise in both Italian varieties under study (Bari and NI, see Grice et al., 2005), though having different association and alignment properties allowing us to test phonetic convergence against the selective imitation hypothesis, as detailed below. Note that in Italian yes/no questions lack a specific morpho-syntactic marking and can be solely expressed by intonation. In particular, the primary cue to interrogation in the Southern varieties is a rising LH pitch accent (L + H* in BI and L* + H in Neapolitan, cf. D’Imperio, 2000; Grice et al., 2005), immediately followed by a phrasal fall or a rise. The main cross-variety difference is that the accentual peak is reached around the middle of the accented syllable in BI, while it is reached later (at the offset of the nuclear syllable) in Neapolitan (D’Imperio, 2002). This alignment contrast is shown in Figure 1.

Bottom Line: Our results show that phonetic detail of tonal alignment can be successfully modified by both BI and NI speakers when imitating a model speaker of the other variety.Moreover the effect was significantly stronger for low frequency words.Hence, our data show that intonation imitation leads to fast modification of both phonetic and phonological intonation representations including detail of tonal alignment and pitch scaling.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: CNRS, LPL, UMR 7309, Aix-Marseille Université Aix-en-Provence, France ; Institut Universitaire de France Paris, France.

ABSTRACT
The aim of this study was to test whether both phonetic and phonological representations of intonation can be rapidly modified when imitating utterances belonging to a different regional variety of the same language. Our main hypothesis was that tonal alignment, just as other phonetic features of speech, would be rapidly modified by Italian speakers when imitating pitch accents of a different (Southern) variety of Italian. In particular, we tested whether Bari Italian (BI) speakers would produce later peaks for their native rising L + H(*) (question pitch accent) in the process of imitating Neapolitan Italian (NI) rising L(*) + H accents. Also, we tested whether BI speakers are able to modify other phonetic properties (pitch level) as well as phonological characteristics (changes in tonal composition) of the same contour. In a follow-up study, we tested if the reverse was also true, i.e., whether NI speakers would produce earlier peaks within the L(*) + H accent in the process of imitating the L + H(*) of BI questions, despite the presence of a contrast between two rising accents in this variety. Our results show that phonetic detail of tonal alignment can be successfully modified by both BI and NI speakers when imitating a model speaker of the other variety. The hypothesis of a selective imitation process preventing alignment modifications in NI was hence not supported. Moreover the effect was significantly stronger for low frequency words. Participants were also able to imitate other phonetic cues, in that they modified global utterance pitch level. Concerning phonological convergence, speakers modified the tonal specification of the edge tones in order to resemble that of the other variety by either suppressing or increasing the presence of a final H%. Hence, our data show that intonation imitation leads to fast modification of both phonetic and phonological intonation representations including detail of tonal alignment and pitch scaling.

No MeSH data available.