Articulation, acoustics and perception of Mandarin Chinese emotional speech

Donna Erickson, Chunyue Zhu, Shigeto Kawahara, Atsuo Suemitsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This paper studies articulatory, acoustic and perceptual characteristics of Mandarin Chinese emotional utterances as produced by two speakers, expressing Neutral, Angry, Sad and Happy emotions. Articulatory patterns were recorded using ElectroMagnetic Articulography (EMA), together with acoustic recordings. The acoustic and articulatory analysis revealed that Happy and Angry were generally higher-pitched, louder, and produced with a more open mouth than Neutral or Sad. Sad is produced with low back tongue dorsum position and Happy, with a forward position, and for one speaker, duration was longer for Angry and Sad. Moreover, F1 and F2 are more dispersed (i.e., hyperarticulated) in emotional speech than Neutral speech. Perception tests conducted with 18 native listeners suggest that listeners were able to perceive the expressed emotions far above chance level. The louder and higher pitched the utterance, the more emotional the speech tends to be perceived. We also explore specific articulatory and acoustic correlates of each type of emotional speech, and how they impact perception.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)620-635
Number of pages16
JournalOpen Linguistics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan


  • Acoustics
  • Articulation
  • Duration
  • Emotion
  • F0
  • F1
  • F2
  • Intensity
  • Jaw displacement
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • Perception
  • Tongue dorsum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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