Bettina Braun

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In two eye-tracking experiments the role of contrastive pitch accents during the on-line determination of referents was examined. In both experiments, German listeners looked earlier at the picture of a referent belonging to a contrast pair (red scissors, given purple scissors) when instructions to click on it carried a contrastive accent on the color(More)
How does language experience shape pitch processing? Do speakers of tone languages, which use pitch to signal lexical contrasts (e.g., Mandarin Chinese) attend to pitch movements more closely than speakers of intonation languages (e.g., English)? Contradictory findings have been reported in the literature. In the current study, we hypothesize that listeners(More)
It is acknowledged that contrast plays an important role in understanding discourse and information structure. While it is commonly assumed that contrast can be marked by intonation only, our understanding of the intonational realization of contrast is limited. For German there is mainly introspective evidence that the rising theme accent (or topic accent)(More)
Native language prosodic structure is known to modulate the processing of non-native suprasegmental information. It has been shown that native speakers of French, a language without lexical stress, have difficulties storing non-native stress contrasts. We investigated whether the ability to store lexical tone (as in Mandarin Chinese) also depends on the(More)
Although the pitch of the human voice is continuously variable, some linguists contend that intonation in speech is restricted to a small, limited set of patterns. This claim is tested by asking subjects to mimic a block of 100 randomly generated intonation contours and then to imitate themselves in several successive sessions. The produced f0 contours(More)
Semantic theories on focus and information structure assume that there are different accent types for thematic (backwardlooking, known) and rhematic (forward-looking, new) information in languages as English and German. According to Steedman [1], thematic material may only be intonationally marked (= bear a pitch accent), if it “contrasts with a different(More)
This paper presents newly developed guidelines for prosodic annotation of German as a consensus system agreed upon by German intonologists. The DIMA system is rooted in the framework of autosegmental-metrical phonology. One important goal of the consensus is to make exchanging data between groups easier since German intonation is currently annotated(More)
This paper evaluates articulation rate measures and rate characteristics of read and spontaneous speech on the basis of a manually labelled database for German. The results of phone classification experiments for three different articulation rates only partially confirm our expectations. Phonetic explanations are suggested.
How syllable-timed is Italian? We investigate two contexts for vowel reduction, unstressed syllables and syllables in polysyllabic words. In a production experiment, a large sample of speakers from Tuscany read diand trisyllabic target words with different stress placement in a sentence context. Results showed vowel reduction in unstressed syllables, both(More)