Effects of prosodic boundary on /aC/ sequences: Acoustic results Academic Article uri icon


  • This study presents various acoustic measures used to examine the sequence /a # C/, where "#" represents different prosodic boundaries in French. The 6 consonants studied are /b d g f s S/ (3 stops and 3 fricatives). The prosodic units investigated are the utterance, the intonational phrase, the accentual phrase, and the word. It is found that vowel target values, formant transitions into the stop consonant, and the rate of change in spectral tilt into the fricative, are affected by the strength of the prosodic boundary. F1 becomes higher for /a/ the stronger the prosodic boundary, with the exception of one speaker's utterance data, which show the effects of articulatory declension at the utterance level. Various effects of the stop consonant context are observed, the most notable being a tendency for the vowel /a/ to be displaced in the direction of the F2 consonant "locus" for /d/ (the F2 consonant values for which remain relatively stable across prosodic boundaries) and for /g/ (the F2 consonant values for which are displaced in the direction of the velar locus in weaker prosodic boundaries, together with those of the vowel). Velocity of formant transition may be affected by prosodic boundary (with greater velocity at weaker boundaries), though results are not consistent across speakers. There is also a tendency for the rate of change in spectral tilt moving from the vowel to the fricative to be affected by the presence of a prosodic boundary, with a greater rate of change at the weaker prosodic boundaries. It is suggested that spectral cues, in addition to duration, amplitude, and F0 cues, may alert listeners to the presence of a prosodic boundary.

publication date

  • January 2003