We applied automated measurement techniques to recordings of 78 hours of oral arguments from the 2001 term of the U.S. Supreme court, in order to look at the (average) effects on pitch and time of primary word stress (e.g. the third syllable in jurisdiction), secondary stress (e.g. the first syllable in jurisdiction), and lack of stress (e.g. the second and fourth syllables in jurisdiction)....Read the whole thing!
We found that vowels with main word stress (1-stress for short) were distinguished by pitch from vowels with secondary stress (2-stress) , and also from unstressed vowels (0-stress). As the plot on the right shows, the 2-stress and 0-stress vowels were remarkably similar in their normalized pitch contours, while the 1-stress vowels were quite different.
The vertical axis is in semitones, relative to a Justice-dependent reference, defined as the 10th percentile of all F0 values for that Justice.....
June 17, 2008
I've been teaching and writing about jurisdiction for almost a quarter century, but I've never thought about how to pitch the various syllables of the word. Today, I learn that it is a profound subject for academic inquiry!