Emotional tones of voice affect the acoustics and perception of Mandarin tones

Hui Shan Chang, Chao Yang Lee, Xianhui Wang, Shuenn Tsong Young, Cheng Hsuan Li, Woei Chyn Chu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Lexical tones and emotions are conveyed by a similar set of acoustic parameters; therefore, listeners of tonal languages face the challenge of processing lexical tones and emotions in the acoustic signal concurrently. This study examined how emotions affect the acoustics and perception of Mandarin tones. In Experiment 1, Mandarin tones were produced by professional actors with angry, fear, happy, sad, and neutral tones of voice. Acoustic analyses on mean F0, F0 range, mean amplitude, and duration were conducted on syllables excised from a carrier phrase. The results showed that emotions affect Mandarin tone acoustics to different degrees depending on specific Mandarin tones and specific emotions. In Experiment 2, selected syllables from Experiment 1 were presented in isolation or in context. Listeners were asked to identify the Mandarin tones and emotions of the syllables. The results showed that emotions affect Mandarin tone identification to a greater extent than Mandarin tones affect emotion recognition. Both Mandarin tones and emotions were identified more accurately in syllables presented with the carrier phrase, but the carrier phrase affected Mandarin tone identification and emotion recognition to different degrees. These findings suggest that lexical tones and emotions interact in complex but systematic ways.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0283635
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume18
Issue number4 April
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2023

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