Detecting intonation phrase boundaries in German laboratory speech by means of H tone upstep

Author(s): Fabian Schubö


This paper suggests a linguistically informed method for automated detection of Intonation Phrase (IP) boundaries in German lab speech. The method makes use of H tone upstep, a phenomenon that applies to the nuclear pitch accent or boundary tone of a non-final IP. The H tone of these events is considerably higher in f0 scaling than the H tone of the immediately preceding pitch accent. This is made use of in order to test for the presence of IP boundaries at certain positions in an utterance: The scaling of the f0 peaks of two adjacent intonational events are extracted and compared in regard to their relative height. If the second value is not lower than the first one, H tone upstep can be assumed, which points to the presence of an upcoming IP boundary. The method is tested on a data set of 216 lab speech utterances and performs with an accuracy of 94%. It is meant to provide a tool for linguists from any background who are working on IP formation in German with data gained in elicited production studies.