An Experimental Neurolinguistic Approach Question Intonation in Standard Chinese

TitleAn Experimental Neurolinguistic Approach Question Intonation in Standard Chinese
Publication TypePresentation
Year of Publication2001
Conference NameNieuwe Projecten
AuthorsLiang, Jie
PublisherNederlandse Vereniging voor Fonetische Wetenschappen
Conference LocationAmsterdam, The Netherlands


The present investigation is inspired by 'Phonetic Correlates of Statement versus Question Intonation in Dutch' ( Van Heuven, V. & J. Hann, 2000). The production data from one of my patients – Aphasian-7 suggest that the sentence intonations, statement (S) vs question (Q), were severely impaired in Broca's aphasic speech. However, the data from other patients with left-hemisphere brain damage seem less severely impaired.


Question arises as how the S/Q intonation are impaired in Aphasian-7's speech, or what phonetic correlates that matter in S/Q intonation in Chinese, and whether there are systematic impairment in S/Q intonation after left brain damage, or if it is possible to locate the prosodic features used in sentence production of Chinese in the brain.


It is said Standard Chinese employs a number of sentence-final question particles, has no specific question intonation, but may raise pitch for questions [1,2]. The present research will throw light on the unsettle problem whether Chinese has specific question intonation or not, what is the primary prosodic cue which Chinese employs in Q intonation. From my previous study, evidence show that segmental phonemes and lexical tones are realized in the different part of the brain, which happens to be consistent with autosegmental theory. Following these data, I would like to know if lexical tones and sentence intonations are realized in different parts of the brain or not, which bears to the prosodic hierarchy since fundamental frequency has be used both on lexical level and sentence level in Chinese.