Quantitative measurement of prosodic strength in Mandarin

Greg Kochanski, Chilin Shih, Hongyan Jing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We describe models of Mandarin prosody that allow us to make quantitative measurements of prosodic strengths. These models use Stem-ML, which is a phenomenological model of the muscle dynamics and planning process that controls the tension of the vocal folds, and therefore the pitch of speech. Because Stem-ML describes the interactions between nearby tones, we were able to capture surface tonal variations using a highly constrained model with only one template for each lexical tone category, and a single prosodic strength per word. The model accurately reproduces the intonation of the speaker, capturing 87% of the variance of f0 with these strength parameters. The result reveals alternating metrical patterns in words, and shows that the speaker marks a hierarchy of boundaries by controlling the prosodic strength of words. The strengths we obtain are also correlated with syllable duration, mutual information and part-of-speech.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)625-645
Number of pages21
JournalSpeech Communication
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2003


  • Intonation
  • Metrical pattern
  • Muscle dynamics
  • Prosodic strength
  • Prosodic structure
  • Prosody modeling
  • Text-to-speech
  • Tonal variation
  • Tone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Science Applications


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