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Generational Change in Japanese Prosody: A Sociophonetic Analysis of Pitch Leveling Shoji Takano Hokusei Gakuen University Ichiro Ota Kagoshima University.

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Presentation on theme: "Generational Change in Japanese Prosody: A Sociophonetic Analysis of Pitch Leveling Shoji Takano Hokusei Gakuen University Ichiro Ota Kagoshima University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Generational Change in Japanese Prosody: A Sociophonetic Analysis of Pitch Leveling Shoji Takano Hokusei Gakuen University Ichiro Ota Kagoshima University The 16 th Sociolinguistics Symposium University of Limerick July 5-8, 2006

2 2 Background Takeshi Shibata’s (1995) Informal Observation on Recently Emerging Changes in Japanese: “General preference for non-prominence among the younger generation” because they want to convey “images of novelty, freshness and urbanity” in speech (p.181-2). For example, (1) Leveling of lexical accents e.g., ka’reshi ‘boyfriend’  kareshi (“ x’ “ indicates a pitch accent.) (2) Leveling of sentence intonation or “pitch in general” (p. 185) “It may be fair to assume that sentence-level pitch leveling (2) precedes lexical accent leveling (1)” (p. 185). “However, it should be noted that the change in question is considered specific to Tokyo Japanese. We do not know whether the change has become widespread in local dialects as well” (p. 186). No follow-up study has been conducted; no empirical evidence that verifies Shibata’s observation is available today.

3 3 Takano & Ota’s (2005) follow-up study Research Questions (1) empirically examined Shibata’s hypothesis on sentence-level pitch leveling prevalent among the younger generation. (2) explored the possibility that the change in question is a nation-wide phenomenon. Data ○ Japanese is a pitch accent language. ○ 3 read sentences that consist only of accented (kifuku-shiki) words. (/ xx / indicates an accentual phrase.) (1) /Ba’su wa/ /na’i kara/ /aru’ite/ /iko’o./ (Let’s walk since there is no bus service.) (2) /Do’ryoku/ /shite’mo/ /i’mi ga/ /na’i./ (It’s meaningless even if you make an effort.) (3) /yo’meba/ /yo’muhodo/ /yu’kai na/ /hanashi’ da./ (The deeper you read, the more amusing you find the story.)

4 4 Hidaka Subjects: 20 Hidaka regional dialect speakers in 2 age groups: all are natives in coastal areas of Hidaka (including the towns of Shizunai and Mitsuishi) ・ Sapporo Subjects: 20 Sapporo dialect speakers in 2 age groups Kagoshima Subjects: 15 native informants in the southern Kyushu region Younger Group 20 speakers, late 10s to early 20s 7 males, 13 females Older Group 20 speakers, Mid 50s to early 70s 5 males, 15 females Younger Group 15 speakers, late 10s to early 20s 10 females, 5 males Kagoshima Hidaka Sappor o

5 5 Analytical Procedures ◎ How can we identify the leveling of pitch?  In an utterance involving the leveling of pitch … (1) Fundamental frequency (F 0 ) of every accented phrase (AP) is weakened; i.e., every pitch peak is relatively lower than otherwise. (2) The movement of pitch involves a steady declination due to the above-mentioned weakening of pitch accent. ◎ How can we measure the leveling of pitch? (see Figure 1) Step 1: Measuring the pitch range (PR) of each utterance as the benchmark ① Maximum F 0 - Minimum F 0 = PR Step 2: Measuring the height of F 0 peak for every AP ② Step 3: Measuring the relative decrease of F 0 peak (divided by PR) F 0 peak of 1 st AP ③ - F 0 peak of 2 nd AP, 3 rd AP, 4 th AP, etc. = F 0 declination Step 4: Measuring the relative magnitude of pitch rise (divided by PR) AP-final F 0 ④ - F 0 peak of the following AP = F 0 increase

6 6 Figure 1: /Doryo’ku//shite’mo//i’mi ga//na’i/ by a 65-year-old Shizunai woman The utterance involving pitch leveling should show … (1) The value of F 0 declination is high: Pitch declination curve is relatively steep and steady (without prominent pitch rise) toward the end of an utterance. (2) The value of F 0 increase is low: F 0 rise of every AP is small-scale in its magnitude. ① ② ③ ④

7 7 Results In 2 (S-2, S-3) out of 3 sentences, the differences in both F 0 declination and F 0 increase were found statistically significant between the age groups. For example … Sentence 3: /yo’meba//yo’muhodo//yu’kai na//hanashi’ da/ F 0 declination (%; divided by PR) /yo’meba/  /yo’muhodo//yo’meba/  /yu’kai na/ Younger Group -37.4-36.7 Older Group -10.3 -11 p <.05p <.01 F 0 increase (%; divided by PR) /yo’meba/  /yo’muhodo//yo’muhodo/  /yu’kai na/ Younger Group 14.9 35 Older Group 51.4 64.9 p <.01p <.05

8 8 Group-specific Patterns of Pitch Contour in Sentence 3: 1) Older Speakers (blue & yellow) – consistency in prominent pitch rise; mild declination with pitch reset 2) Younger Speakers (red, skyblue, purple) – relatively flat without prominent pitch rise; steady pitch declination 3) The younger groups from three different dialect areas (Sapporo skyblue, Shizunai red, Kagoshima purple) share a relatively levelled movement of pitch.

9 9 The Present Study Research Questions (1) To reconfirm Takano & Ota’s (2005) findings (i.e., based on read sentences) by analyzing a more naturalistic style of speech elicited from news passage reading (2) To test native speakers’ perception of pitch movement as a “social indexicality” for the speaker age Data for Research Question (1) ○ Reading of transcriptions of actual news passages read by anchorpersons on popular news programs broadcast in Japan ○ Subjects: 10 speakers in late 50s to early 70s from Sapporo (Sapporo-OLD), 10 speakers in early 20s from Sapporo (Sapporo-YOUNG), and 11 speakers from Kagoshima (Kagoshima-YOUNG)

10 10 Data for Research Question (2) ○ “Pseudo-Matched-guise Experiment” – with 30 Japanese college students as raters Procedures - The raters listen to 14 stimulus utterances (consisting of 2 different read sentences) three times but in different orders. - The raters are asked to guess approximately how old each of 14 speakers is (i.e., 10s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s or higher), based on their first impressions. Experimental Design - 14 stimulus utterances contain 6 target utterances (i.e., utterances for anlaysis) and 8 non-target utterances (i.e., distractors). - 3 speakers who exhibited pitch movement typical to the younger group (i.e., target speakers) were chosen; 8 speakers were also chosen as the distractors. All the 11 speakers are in their early 20s, the members of our Younger Groups (i.e., Hidaka and Sapporo speakers). - Each of the 3 target speakers produced 2 utterances in different occasions: one with their original pitch contour typical to the younger generation, and the other with a pitch contour synthesized by Praat, so that it could exhibit pitch movement typical to the older generation.  The raters think that they are listening to 14 different speakers, but in actuality they are listening to 11 different speakers: 8 non-target distractors and each of the 3 target speakers “twice” (i.e., the matched-guise), namely, the first time with an original pitch contour “sounding younger” and the second time with a synthesized pitch contour “sounding older” or vice versa. - Because we had previously found that duration had some effects on raters’ judgment on the speaker’s age, we made the duration of all the utterances (read sentences) identical by using a speech synthesis tool of Praat.

11 11 Results for Research Question (1) Even in a passage reading task, there are found consistent differences in the degree of “pitch declination” between the two age groups (Sapporo Older vs. Sapporo Younger & Kagoshima Younger). For example, Part of the news passage: … /kodomo’tachi no//mondai koo’doo no//haikei o saguro’o to/ … F 0 declination (%; divided by PR) ①  ② ①  ③ /…kodomo’tachi…/  /…ko’odoo…/ /…kodomo’tachi…/  /…saguro’o…/ Sapporo Younger -24.3 -66.3 Sapporo Older -15.7 -41.5 p <.05 p <.02 /…kodomo’tachi…/  /…ko’odoo…/ /…kodomo’tachi…/  /…saguro’o…/ Kagoshima Younger -20.7 -72.3 Sapporo Older -15.7 -41.5 p <.05 p <.01

12 12 1)Two younger groups’ patterns of pitch declination ( ① to ②, ① to ③ in Sapporo-YOUNG and Kagoshima-YOUNG) are more radical than that of the older group (Sapporo-OLD).

13 13 2) The pitch contours of “Sapporo-YOUNG” and “Kagoshima- YOUNG” are quite similar. The differences in pitch declination are NOT statistically significant between the two groups from different dialect areas. F 0 declination (%; divided by PR) /…kodomo’tachi…/  /…ko’odoo…/ /…kodomo’tachi…/  /…saguro’o…/ ①  ② ①  ③ Sapporo Younger -24.3 -66.3 Kagoshima Younger -20.7 -72.3 NS NS Notes: These statistically significant age-linked differences have been found mainly in the degree of pitch declination. We have not obtained such consistent findings yet as to the degree of pitch rise. We leave this issue for further investigation.

14 14 Results for Research Question (2) Pitch contours appear to function as a cue indexing the speaker’s age. … For example, ○ the majority of raters judged Speaker B, a female speaker in her early 20s from Shizunai (Hidaka), as someone in her 30s or younger when speaking in her original, relatively flat, greatly declining pitch contour. ○ The identical speaker, however, was judged mainly as someone in her 40s or older when speaking in a modified contour of pitch typical to the older generation.

15 15 ○ The remaining 2 target speakers were also judged more or less in a similar fashion.

16 16

17 17 Summary & Discussion (1) Pitch Leveling is Prevalent among the Younger Generation in Japan … reconfirmed based on the speech elicited from two production tasks: independent sentence reading and passage reading OLD : - L ess F 0 declination (and more F 0 increase) - Realization of pitch accents is sure and steady. - F 0 is vigorous and dynamic in its movement with relatively prominent pitch peaks and even with frequent pitch reset. YOUNG: - More F 0 declination (and less F 0 increase) - Realization of pitch accents is subject to “catathesis” (= a feature of the Tokyo dialect). - F 0 is flat with relatively minor pitch peaks and accentual de-generation.

18 18 (2) Pitch Leveling in the Speech of Younger Generation Could be a Nation-wide Phenomenon. … a striking similarity in pitch movement shared by the speakers from three different regions: Hidaka, Sapporo, and Kagoshima … Is this one of the proccesses of “standardization” of regional dialects that has been in rapid progress widely in Japan? … Is this a consequence of people’s exposure to media (e.g., TV, radio broadcast)?

19 19 (3) Pitch Movement (especially, declination) “Indexes” the Speaker’s Age. … native speakers are capable of perceiving differences in magnitude of pitch, and are also aware of social information (i.e., the speaker age) conveyed by particular types of pitch.

20 20 References Foulkes, Paul. (2005). The Social Life of Phonetics and Phonology. Plenary Address at the 5th UK Language Variation and Change Conference. University of Aberdeen. Foulkes, Paul & Docherty, Gerard. (1999). Urban Voices: Accent Studies in the British Isles. London: Arnold.Kubozono, H. (1993). The Organization of Japanese Prosody. Tokyo: Kurosio. Labov, W. (1972). Sociolinguistic Patterns. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. Pierrehumbert, J., & Beckman, M. (1988). Japanese Tone Structure. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Sibata, T. (1978). Shakai-gengogaku no kadai (Issues in sociolinguistics). Tokyo: Sanseido. ________. (1995). Nihongo wa omoshiroi (Japanese is interesting). Tokyo: Iwanami. Takano, S., & Ota, I. (2005). A Sociolinguistic Study of Pitch Leveling in Japanese: A Preliminary Analysis. Poster Presentation at UK Language Variation and Change 5, University of Aberdeen. Thomas, E. R. (2002). Instrumental phonetics. In J. Chambers, et al. (eds.), The Handbook of Language Variation and Change. New York: Blackwell. ________. (2002). Sociophonetic applications of speech perception experiments. American Speech 77(2): 115-47.


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