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Nordic Prosody

Proceedings of the Xth Conference, Helsinki 2008

Edited By Martti Vainio, Reijo Aulanko and Olli Aaltonen

This volume contains the revised texts of talks and posters given at the Nordic Prosody X conference, held at the University of Helsinki, in August 2008. The contributions by Scandinavian and other researchers cover a wide range of prosody-related topics from various theoretical and methodological points of view. Although the history of the conference series is Nordic and Scandinavian, the current volume presents studies that are of mainly Baltic origin in the sense that of the eight languages presented in the proceedings only English is not natively spoken around the Baltic Sea. Research issues addressed in the 25 articles include various aspects of speech prosody, their regional variation within and across languages as well as social and idiolectal variation. Speech technology and modelling of prosody are also addressed in more than one article.

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15. Regional variation in the perception of Estonian quantity 151

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REGIONAL VARIATION IN THE PERCEPTION OF ESTONIAN QUANTITY Pärtel Lippus Karl Pajusalu 1 Introduction Estonian is known for its three-way quantity distinction. The primary feature of the Estonian quantity is the length of the first syllable nucleus in combination with the duration pattern of the sound segments in the foot (Lehiste, 1997, 2003; Traunmüller and Krull, 2003; Eek and Meister, 2003, 2004). It has been shown that besides the durational cues pitch plays an important role in the Estonian quantity perception, being vital for distinguishing long from the overlong quantity degree (Lehiste, 1970, 1997, 2003; Lehiste and Danforth, 1977; Eek, 1980a). The pitch contour of words in short (Q1) and long quantity degree (Q2) have the turning point at the end of the first syllable, while the overlong quantity degree (Q3) has it earlier in the first syllable (e.g. Lehiste, 1997, 2003). In this study we carried out a perception experiment to test the importance of the pitch cue using re-synthesized stimuli from words [] (short, Q1), [] (long, Q2), [] (overlong, Q3) for the vowel quantity, and [] (Q1), [ ] (Q2), [] (Q3) for the consonant quantity. The duration of V1 (in case of vowel lengthening) or C2 (in case of consonant lengthening) was changed while the pitch contour remained unchanged. In Lippus et al. (2007) we reported the results of a group of 9 native vs. 9 non- native Estonian speakers with different first languages. The results of the Estonian speakers showed that in the case of vowel quantity, the test subjects...

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