Volume 119, Issue 3, March 2006
Index of content:
- SPEECH PROCESSING AND COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS 
Constrained tone transformation technique for separation and combination of Mandarin tone and intonation119(2006); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.2165071View Description Hide Description
This paper addresses a classical but important problem: The coupling of lexical tones and sentence intonation in tonal languages, such as Chinese, focusing particularly on voice fundamental frequency contours of speech. It is important because it forms the basis of speech synthesis technology and prosody analysis. We provide a solution to the problem with a constrained tone transformation technique based on structural modeling of the contours. This consists of transforming target values in pairs from norms to variants. These targets are intended to sparsely specify the prosodic contributions to the contours, while the alignment of target pairs between norms and variants is based on underlying lexical tone structures. When the norms take the citation forms of lexical tones, the technique makes it possible to separate sentence intonation from observed contours. When the norms take normative contours, it is possible to measure intonation variations from the norms to the variants, both having identical lexical tone structures. This paper explains the underlying scientific and linguistic principles and presents an algorithm that was implemented on computers. The method’s capability of separating and combining tone and intonation is evaluated through analysis and re-synthesis of several hundred observed contours.