Some acoustic and articulatory correlates of phrasal stress in Spanish

Author(s): Donna Erickson, Julián Villegas, Ian Wilson, Yuki Iguro, Jeff Moore and Daniel Erker


All spoken languages show rhythmic patterns. Recent work with a number of different languages (English, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, and French) suggests that metrically (hierarchically) assigned stress levels of the utterance show strong correlations with the amount of jaw displacement, and corresponding F1 values. This paper examines some articulatory and acoustic correlates of Spanish rhythm; specifically, we ask if there is a correlation between phrasal stress values metrically assigned to each syllable and acoustic/articulatory values. We used video recordings of three Salvadoran Spanish speakers to measure maximum jaw displacement, mean F0, mean intensity, mean duration, and mid-vowel F1 for each vowel in two Spanish sentences. The results show strong correlations between stress and duration, and between stress and F1, but weak correlations between stress and both mean vowel intensity and maximum jaw displacement. We also found weak correlations between jaw displacement and both mean vowel intensity and F1.