Production and perception of incredulity in yes-no question intonation in Taiwan Mandarin

Author(s): Yu-Ying Chuang and Janice Fon


This study intends to investigate the effect of incredulity on yes-no question intonation in Taiwan Mandarin. Mandarin yes-no question is formed by adding the sentence-final particle -ma, and it usually sounds incredulous when -ma is absent. To examine how incredulity interacts with -ma, three question conditions were designed, including neutral question with -ma, incredulous question with -ma, and incredulous question without -ma. For the production experiment, an elicitation task was conducted, and pitch realizations were measured. In the perception experiment, listeners performed a forced-choice judgment task on incredulity. Results showed that incredulity was closely associated with pitch height, and there exhibited a gradient relationship. In addition, the question particle -ma also exerted an effect on the production and perception of incredulity.