SST 2010 Tutorial

The tutorial will take place at 1 pm – 5 pm on Monday, 13th December 2010, at the same location as the main SST 2010 conference.  Registration and payment for the tutorial may be done through the Registration page.

Phonetic and pragmatic factors in designing experimental materials for research on prosody

Professor D. R. Ladd, The University of Edinburgh

This session will deal with a number of methodological issues on the choice of speech materials for experimental research on prosody and intonation. It is unfortunately common for this kind of research to be based on materials that either (a) are extremely unnatural and leave room for doubt about the validity of any conclusions, or (b) fail to control any of a number of factors known to influence F0, duration, etc., thereby confounding the interpretation of experimental findings.  It is important to be aware of a number of phonetic and pragmatic factors that have the potential to ruin an otherwise well-designed study.

Among the phonetic topics we will discuss are intrinsic vowel F0, structural and segmental effects on duration, and obstruent-induced irregularities in F0.  Among pragmatic topics, we will consider ways of influencing the intonational prominence of test words, and ways of avoiding the inadvertent creation of discourse context in lists of sentences intended as unrelated.  We will also discuss a number of general methodological issues, both phonetic and pragmatic.  These
include the identification of significant points in F0 contours, the appropriate scale for quantifying F0 (linear?  logarithmic?), the validity of using laboratory speech for any sort of prosodic research, the appropriateness of explicit instruction in research involving lab speech, and so on.

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