University of Hong Kong > School of Humanities

Talker variability and the use of perceptual cues in Hong Kong Cantonese lingual stop codas
- Dr. Jonathan Yip

Thu 17 Nov 2016, 3:00-4:30 pm
Room 4.04, 4/F Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU

Talker variability and the use of perceptual cues in Hong Kong Cantonese lingual stop codas

HKU Linguistics Seminar Series

Talker variability and the use of perceptual cues in Hong Kong Cantonese lingual stop codas

Cantonese inaudibly-released oral stop codas, whose acoustic cues to place of articulation occur strictly before constriction and not during or after constriction, appear to be merging sound categories in the speech of young-adult speakers (Law, Fung, & Bauer, 2001). Prior work (Yip, 2015) revealed substantial articulatory variation among five young-adult speakers of Cantonese, ranging from full gestural preservation (talker T5), to coproduction in lingual-lingual sequences only (talkers T1, T2), to gestural loss of place (talkers T3, T4). Coda contrasts were acoustically cued by first- and third-format loci (both lower into /k/ than into /t/) and preceding vowel duration (longer before /t/ than before /k/), whereas the general presence of the coda was cued by creakiness and a loss of glottal pulsing. In the present study, 18 Cantonese-speaking listeners’ perception of codas produced by talkers in the prior study was tested in an AXB task in which ambiguous coda productions were judged as more similar to each talker’s best coda /t/ or /k/ production, as assessed with ultrasound tongue imaging. Comparisons of listener sensitivity to cues—based on LMER estimates for change in accuracy with respect to relevant acoustic response variables—with their accuracy rates for individual talkers indicate that listeners who were sensitive to particular acoustic cues gained a perceptual advantage for talkers who produced those cues. However, greater articulatory achievement in the stimuli did not correlate with better perception, except for productions by talker T4, who produced gestural loss. These perceptual results, along with preliminary data on listeners’ own production patterns, suggest that listeners attend best to talkers with whom they share particular articulatory production strategies, even if those talkers are not producing the full place contrast as traditionally described.

Jonathan Yip is a post-doctoral fellow in Linguistics. He is interested in the nature of phonetic planning and the use of perceptual-enhancement strategies in the articulation of speech sounds. He also examines the relationship between speech production and perception and relevance of this relationship to historical sound change. His current research involves the use of ultrasonic tongue imaging to examine the articulation of sound gestures, for example, the coordination of rime sequences in Cantonese, and the variation in production patterns exhibited across groups of talkers who speak the same language. He is responsible for setting up the new Phonetics Lab in collaboration with Diana Archangeli.

All are welcome.

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