Effects of Emotional Prosody on Processing Lexical Tones

[Speaker] Kao, Chieh:1
[Co-author] Tsao, Feng-ming:1
1:National Taiwan University (Taiwan)

In non-tonal languages (e.g., English), linguistic prosody of sentences interacts with emotional prosody in identifying speakers' emotional states. In tonal languages (e.g., Chinese), both emotional prosody and lexical tones of words are conveyed through same acoustic cues, pitch contour and height. Present study explored how emotional prosody modulated lexical tone perception by examining whether congruency between lexical meaning and emotional prosody of emotion words (e.g., happy and sad) affected perceptual organization of lexical tones. Mandarin-speaking adults (n=42) first classified emotions of 16 emotion-prosody congruent/incongruent words. Then, participants distinguished lexical tones of word pairs in an AX discrimination task. Participants easily classified emotions of words. After controlling for pitch differences between word pairs, participants responded slower distinguishing lexical tones when pairs were congruent/incongruent words. The multi-dimensional scaling using reaction times of tonal discrimination showed that emotional prosody modified perceptual organizations of lexical tones, specifically for contour tones (Tones 2 and 3).
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