Prosodic encoding of information structure in mandarin Chinese: Evidence from picture description task

Yifei Bi, Lesya Y. Ganushchak, Agnieszka E. Konopka, Guiqin Ren, Xue Sui, Yiya Chen

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3 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates the extent to which prosodic cues are employed during online sentence production to distinguish three different notions of information structure (informational focus, corrective focus, and givenness) at two sentential focus locations (i.e. the subject and object positions). Participants were asked to describe pictures. The information status of the subject and object characters was manipulated in the discourse preceding the presentation of each picture. Acoustic data (including duration, F0, and intensity) from 65 participants were analysed. Results showed consistent acoustic differences between corrective focus and givenness, confirming the findings from reading and semi-controlled production tasks. Contrary to previous studies, our results showed no durational and F0 differences between informational focus and givenness, and no differences in intensity range between informational focus and corrective focus. Moreover, our results showed that the sentential focus locations of the target word also had an impact on the prosodic encoding of information structure in natural utterance production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)726-730
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the International Conference on Speech Prosody
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event8th Speech Prosody 2016 - Boston, United States
Duration: 31 May 20163 Jun 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research was supported by the China Scholarship Council for the fellowship to YB, the European Research Council for the ERC-Starting Grant (206198) to YC and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31471075; 31100732) to GR. We would like to thank Qian Li for comments, Qi Sun, Shuang Li and Weiwei Wang for collecting data as well as the support from Leiden University Center for Linguistics, the College of Psychology of Liaoning Normal University, Hongli Liu and Bo Liu from SR Research, Jos Pacilly for technical support in Leiden University Center for Linguistics and all the participants.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, International Speech Communications Association. All rights reserved.


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