An approach to constructing prosodic grammar for Mandarin read speech

Yu Siang Hong, Chen Yu Chiang, Yih-Ru Wang, Sin Horng Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A data-driven approach to constructing a prosodic grammar of Mandarin read speech is proposed. Prosodic labeling is performed, first, on a large speech corpus with syntactic-tree parsing to add four-level break indices. Two types of prosodic grammatical rules are explored. One type is composed of simplified rules to compute break-type distributions at critical junctures for 5 phrase-level and 11 basic syntactic patterns. The other type entails detailed rules to compute break-type distributions conditioned on syntactic function for four determinative-measure (DM)-related syntactic patterns. Effectiveness of the approach was confirmed by meaningful interpretations of the resulting main prosodic patterns and outliers of targeted syntactic patterns by inferred rules. The main findings are given below. Strong paused breaks are found at VE-clause object (VE, active verb with a sentential object) junctures and junctures after idioms. For DM-related patterns, the entropies of break-type distributions decrease significantly as syntactic functions are involved; break-type distributions on both edges are seriously affected by their syntactic functions; when acting as subject (S) and object (O), their prosodic phenomena support the tendency of Mandarin to be S(VO) (V, verb); strong paused breaks at postboundaries of DM-2-DM-4 are caused by their more complex syntactic structures and greater lengths; and the insertions of modifier + DE (special tag for the word DE) into DM-N (N, noun) junctures cause more paused-break insertions at junctures after DMs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2406-2425
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2023


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