The effect of global F0 contour shape on the perception of tonal timing contrasts in American English intonation

Jonathan Barnes, Nanette Veilleux, Alejna Brugos, Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel, Boston University

Results from an ABX perception task involving the contrast between default- and late-timed pitch accents ((L+)H* and L*+H) in American English intonation demonstrate that pitch movement curvature, in addition to turning-point alignment, plays a role in determining listener categorization. A model based on Tonal Center of Gravity, effectively integrating both F0 turning-point and global contour-shape information, is shown to provide a better account of these results than can a model based on turning-points alone. Results suggest further that additional factors, such as scaling of the pitch accent in the frequency domain, may also play a role.