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Imitation of intonational gestures: a preliminary report

Tilsen, Sam; Burgess, Danielle; Lantz, Emma

In this paper we report on an experimental investigation of how speakers imitate intonational gestures. The aim of the experiment was to determine which aspects of intonational contours are most directly controlled by speakers. Experiment participants heard parametrically varied HL (rising-falling) intonational contours in a synthesized trisyllabic name; they responded by imitating the name, embedding it in a fixed carrier phrase.

Analyses of effects of stimulus parameters on responses show the following: (1) speakers control F0 targets of intonational tones, rather than the magnitudes or velocities of F0 rises and falls; (2) F0 targets are attracted to speaker-specific values, but can be modulated to achieve partial imitation; (3) speakers who imitate variation in the timing of pitch gestures do so with categorical changes in control over timing.

These findings are argued to support a gestural model of F0 control, in which a HL tone is comprised of H and L tone gestures that are coordinated with one another and with other articulatory gestures. 1

This working paper is copyrighted, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) - see https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
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