LING521 - Spring 2017

Exercise #3: Exploring English Intonation I

(1) Start by listening to the pair of clips below. These are two versions of the sentence

It was always a great affair, the Misses Morkan's annual dance.

Version 1:     

Version 2:     

Write down your impressions of phrasing, stress/accent, and tune. What is the stress pattern? Which aspects of the prosody do you think are local or intrinsic to particular words, syllables, or junctures? Which aspects seem to involve relations among elements, or perhaps properties of larger units? What else strikes you about the performances -- for example, do you think that the speaker could produce the sentence in the same way in conversation rather than in reading?

(2) Now listen to this set of readings. The first critical comparison will be the seven versions of the phrase "happy, clever, and rich". As context, in each case I've given the same speaker's reading of  the whole sentence:

Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence;  and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.

...and then just the critical phrase "handsome, clever, and rich":

Version1:         

Version 2:          

Version3:          

Version4:         

Version5:          

Version6:          

Version7:          


Pick two different-seeming variants of the "handsome, clever, and rich" phrase, and answer the same questions: Which aspects of the prosody do you think are local or intrinsic to particular words, syllables, or junctures? Which aspects seem to involve relations among elements, or perhaps properties of larger units?

(3) Now do the same things for the whole sentence in Version 7. If you feel like it, compare aspects of this performance with aspects of the other six verions.

(4) In harris.sas.upenn.edu:/plab/Audiobooks, you'll find .wav files and .TextGrids for the read chapters that these excerpts come from.

And in /plab/Audiobooks/TheDead/Version1 and /plab/Audiobooks/TheDead/Version2

you'll find two different versions of the James Joyce's short story "The Dead". The sentences in (1) come from the first section of both Versions, which would be

/plab/Audiobooks/TheDead/Version1/NTheDead01.wav
/plab/Audiobooks/TheDead/Version1/NTheDead01.TextGrid

/plab/Audiobooks/TheDead/Version2/TheDead_v2_01.wav
/plab/Audiobooks/TheDead/Version2/TheDead_v2_01.TextGrid
The cited sentences start at about 35 seconds in Version 1, and about 43 seconds in Version 2.

In /plab/Audiobooks/JaneAustenEmma/Chapters/Chapter01
you'll find seven different versions of the first chapter of Jane Austen's novel Emma.  The cited sentence is the first thing in chapter one, and thus the first thing in each of the readings.

Copy the relevant .wav and .TextGrid files from the /plab/Audiobooks directory to your own computer, or at least to a computer where you can interact with the audio.

Now look at the duration, amplitude, and f0 tracks of the selections that you described in (1) - (3).  Note that

How do the various phonetic quantities correspond to your perceptions? In particular, what do the f0 tracks add to your analysis? What features of the f0 track were not salient to your perceptual evaluation? And what things do you hear in the intonational melodies that aren't salient in a visual analysis of the f0 time functions?