Special Sessions

We are pleased to announce the special sessions of Speech Prosody 2016:

Rising intonation in English and beyond
Organizers: Meghan Armstrong, Page Piccinini, Amanda Ritchart

Over the past years, popular media has become interested in intonational phenomena such as “high rising terminals” (HRTs) and “uptalk”. These related phenomena are quite common to varieties of English, but why is this the case? To our knowledge, few studies have looked across English varieties to identify the commonalities or differences in how rises work, and why they might be so widespread in English. The goal of this session is to bring together scholars working on  HRTs and so-called “uptalk” in varieties of English, but also scholars working on related phenomena in other languages. Central topics to be addressed include (but are not limited to) the cross-linguistic nature of the HRT/uptalk phenomenon, teasing out the difference between rises used for HRT/uptalk versus other rises in a language’s intonational grammar, methods at our disposal to study the phenomenon, the pragmatics of HRT/uptalk, sociolinguistic considerations, and HRT/uptalk realization in the speech of clinical populations. [full description]

Sentence-final particles and intonation: Similarities, interactions, and historical relationships
Organizers: James Sneed German, K. K. Luke

It has often been noted that sentence-final discourse particles (SFPs) bear a peculiar relationship to intonation. The types of meaning they carry, for example, overlaps to a large extent with the types of meaning often carried by intonational forms. Typologically, particles tend to be more richly developed in languages with reduced intonational contrasts (i.e., tone languages), suggesting a kind of complementarity or “competition” between the two systems. [full description]

Sources of Prosodic Variation across Recording Settings
Organizers: Oliver Niebuhr, Petra Wagner

The task of describing and understanding speech communication places certain requirements on the acoustic quality and experimental control of speech signals. Despite this inevitable fact, we know surprisingly little about the social, environmental, and task-specific factors that shape speech production, and particularly speech prosody, inside and outside the laboratory. Continuing the INSPECT initiative (i.e. “Innovating Speech Elicitation Techniques”) that was started by Niebuhr, Michaud, and colleagues in 2013, our special session aims at bringing together, with a focus on prosody, papers that can sensitize researchers to the challenges, sources of variation, and possible pitfalls of gathering production data. Thus, possible topics include (but are to restricted to) in-depth analyses or comparisons of elicitation tasks (including types of reading material), prosodic convergence, the issue of generalization of lab-speech findings, reliability of measurements, individual speaker differences (e.g., with respect to expressive speech, fluency, laughter, breathing), effects and artifacts of recording conditions, such as type of microphone, eye contact, or task duration (fatigue or order/repetition effects). [full description]

Speaker comfort and communication in noisy environments (Special Poster Session)
Organizers: Oliver Niebuhr, Simone Graetzer

Prolonged exposure to high levels of ambient noise can lead to serious health effects, decreases in comfort during communication, and cognitive impairment. Two important aspects of the disturbance caused by noise on speech are its effects on speech intelligibility and vocal effort, and therefore speaker comfort. In noisy environments, speech prosodic changes can include a modification of fundamental frequency (F0) and a slowing of speech rate and other durational modifications. These changes appear to be made by the speaker to improve intelligibility for the listener. This special session invites submissions addressing the impact of noise on communication and speaker comfort. The topics will include, but will not be limited to, the effects of noise, speech style and room acoustic characteristics on speech parameters, talker intelligibility, and self-reported speaker comfort. A discussion of the implications of noise exposure for occupational voice users and pupils in the classroom is encouraged. The session will also provide a forum for discussing recent developments in the study of vocal effort, acoustic clarity, and communication enhancement. [Full description]

Papers to special sessions will be submitted via EasyChair with other submissions and will be reviewed and selected by Special Session organizers. Papers submitted to special sessions must also follow the same formatting and criteria of regular submissions. Please see our author information page for full submission requirements.