This study shows that an increase in speech rate affects French intonation in both the phonetic realization of the f0contour and the prosodic organization of a text. The effect of rate was found to vary according to speaker and position of the speech material within the text. For two of the three speakers, an increase in rate induced a reduction in pitch range and in pitch displacements, with greater lowering of f0maxima than of f0minima. For one of these two speakers, modifications in the shape of the f0contour were found only in the first part of the text. For the third speaker, an increase in rate induced a reduction of pitch range only in the second part of the text, and a reduction of pitch displacements was obtained by raising the f0minima while keeping the maxima constant. The prosodic organization was also modified at fast rate. Speakers reduced the number of phrases by deleting or reducing the strength of prosodic boundaries. Simplification of the tonal contour was also found at fast rate with the failure to realize certain underlying tones. These results are compared to rate-based variation in the kinematics of other articulators. Evidence for a saturation effect is discussed with regard to the variation observed in the compressibility of f0movements at fast rate. A model of the articulation of intonation is proposed which assumes that speakers use similar strategies in controlling laryngeal/ subglottal articulators and other articulators. © 1998 Academic Press Limited.
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