Department of Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences
University College London
2 Wakefield Street
London WC1N 1PF
|ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow
Office: Room 328, Chandler House
Phone: +44 (0)20 7679 4094
Fax: +44 (0)20 7679 4238
I was an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences at University College London. I received my Ph.D. in Linguistics and M.S. in Statistics from the University of Chicago.
Starting March 2011, I will be working with Professor Patrick Suppes on the neurorepresentations of phonemes and their distinctive features in English and Chinese using EEG recordings, in the Suppes Brain Lab at the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford University.
My Curriculum Vitae (in PDF format, 124K, updated October 2010).
Language and music are fundamental traits of human existence. However, despite having no language problems, around 4% of the general population have been estimated to be tone-deaf, being unable to either sing in tune or detect an out-of-tune note in a melody. Termed 'musical tone-deafness' or 'congenital amusia', this condition provides a unique perspective for examining the domain-specificity (or otherwise) of pitch processing in music and language. That is, is pitch information processed differently depending on whether it is embedded in language or music? If not, to what extent does a musical disorder impact on linguistic pitch processing? This research will address these questions by investigating whether and how amusia affects amusics' production and perception of pitch targets in speech. A speech production experiment will test whether hitting the wrong notes in music would imply that amusics could not produce the correct pitch targets in speech. A speech perception experiment will examine whether amusics can identify and discriminate small pitch target differences in speech. The findings will not only reveal whether a musical disorder extends to the language domain, but also help the understanding of the relationship between music and language - the two uniquely human faculties.
Sound examples in "Intonation processing in congenital amusia: Discrimination, identification, and imitation.", by Fang Liu, Aniruddh D. Patel, Adrian Fourcin, & Lauren Stewart.
"She looks like Anne." vs. "She looks like Anne?" (Stimuli in the statement-question discrimination task)
My PhD thesis examined how communicative functions, such as lexical tone (in Chinese), word stress (in English), focus (sentence emphasis), and sentence type (statement vs. question), interactively affect surface pitch contours of spoken utterances in English and Chinese. Using a comparative approach, I found that in both languages surface prosodic forms result from articulatory implementation of underlying pitch targets (ideal production goals) that are associated with syllables and exhibit different trajectories depending on the communicative functions conveyed. Specifically, while tonal targets in Chinese remain unchanged regardless of focus or sentence type, pitch targets of English stressed syllables vary with the stress pattern of the word, focus and sentence type conditions of the utterances. For example, in English statements, 'blackboard' has a [high] pitch target on the stressed syllable followed by a [low] target on the unstressed syllable, and 'black board' (a board that is black) has a [low] pitch target on the unstressed syllable and a [fall] target on the stressed syllable. In questions, pitch targets of English stressed syllables change (from [high] or [fall] in statements) to [rise]. In both languages pitch range of the focused word is expanded in statements as well as in questions. In Chinese, post-focus pitch range is compressed and lowered in both statements and questions, although the latter is smaller in magnitude. In English, post-focus pitch range is compressed and lowered in statements but compressed and raised in questions. Overall, my PhD research demonstrates that pitch modulations in Chinese and English are complicated yet regulated so that the function-carrying pitch targets are maintained and modified in time, place, and occasion.
Liu, F., Patel, A. D., Fourcin, A., & Stewart, L. (2010). Intonation processing in congenital amusia: Discrimination, identification, and imitation. Brain, 133, 1682-1693. doi: 10.1093/brain/awq089.
Xu, Y., & Liu, F. (2007). Determining the temporal interval of segments with the help of F0 contours. Journal of Phonetics, 35, 398-420.
Xu, Y., & Liu, F. (2006). Tonal alignment, syllable structure and coarticulation: Toward an integrated model. Italian Journal of Linguistics, 18, 125-159.
Liu, F., & Xu, Y. (2005). Parallel Encoding of Focus and Interrogative Meaning in Mandarin Intonation. Phonetica, 62, 70-87.
Fulop, S., Ladefoged, P., Liu, F., & Vossen, R. (2003). Yeyi clicks: Acoustic description and analysis. Phonetica, 60, 231-260.
Liu, F. (2002). Sociophonetic variation of 'Shenme' ('what') in Beijing Mandarin. Yuyanxue Luncong [Linguistic Discussion], 25, 116-151.
Liu, F. (2010). Single vs. double focus in English statements and yes/no questions. Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2010. Chicago, USA.
Liu, F., & Xu, Y. (2007). The Neutral Tone in Question Intonation in Mandarin. Proceedings of Interspeech 2007 (pp. 630-633). Antwerp, Belgium.
Liu, F., & Xu, Y. (2007). Question intonation as affected by word stress and focus in English. Proceedings of The 16th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (pp. 1189-1192). Saarbrucken, Germany.
Liu, F., Surendran, D., & Xu, Y. (2006). Classification of statement and question intonations in Mandarin. Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2006. Dresden, Germany.
Liu, F., & Xu, Y. (2003). Underlying targets of initial glides -- Evidence from focus-related F0 alignments in English. Proceedings of The 15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (pp. 1887-1890). Barcelona, Spain.
Xu, Y., & Liu, F. (2002). Segmentation of glides with tonal alignment as reference. Proceedings of The 7th Internatonal Conference on Spoken Language Processing (pp. 1093-1096). Denver, USA.
Liu, F., Jiang, C., Xu, Y., Yang, Y., & Stewart, L. (2011). Tone and intonation processing in Chinese-speaking congenital amusics. The Experimental Psychology Society Meeting. January 6-7, 2011, London, UK.
Liu, F., Patel, A. D., Fourcin, A., & Stewart, L. (2010). Intonational identification-imitation dissociation in congenital amusia. The 11th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition. August 23-27, 2010, Seattle, USA.
Liu, F., & Xu, Y. (2010). Double focus in General American English. The 9th Phonetic Conference of China (PCC 2010). May 28-30, 2010, Tianjin, China.
Liu, F., Patel, A. D., & Stewart, L. (2010). Intonation perception abilities in congenital amusia. The Experimental Psychology Society Meeting. January 6-7, 2010, London, UK.
Liu, F., Patel, A. D., & Stewart, L. (2009). Congenital amusia is not a music-specific disorder: Evidence from speech perception. 7th Triennial Conference of European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music. August 12-16, 2009, Jyvaskyla, Finland.
Liu, F., Patel, A. D., & Stewart, L. (2009). Congenital amusia is not a music-specific disorder: Evidence from speech perception. Society for Music Perception and Cognition Conference. August 3-7, 2009, Indianapolis, USA.
Liu, F. (2008). Double focus in General American English. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 123, Pt. 2, p. 3461.
Liu, F., & Xu, Y. (2007). Interaction of word stress, focus, and sentence type in English. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 121, Pt. 2, p. 3199.
Liu, F., & Xu, Y. (2006). Realizing question intonation in Mandarin with neutral tone. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 119, Pt. 2, p. 3304.
Liu, F. (2005). Concurrent recognition of focus and question in Mandarin. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 117, Pt. 2, p. 2461.
Liu, F., & Xu, Y. (2004). Interaction of focus and interrogative meanings in Mandarin. Proceedings of From Sound to Sense: Fifty+ Years of Discoveries in Speech Communication (p. 22). Cambridge, USA.
Liu, F., & Xu, Y. (2004). Asking questions with focus. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 115, Pt. 2, p. 2397.
Liu, F., Xu, Y., & Yu, A. C. L. (submitted). How is the neutral tone realized in statements and questions in Mandarin?
Xu, Y., & Liu, F. (submitted). Intrinsic coherence of prosody and segments. Prosodies. Context, Function, and Communication. Walter de Gruyter series "Language, Context, and Cognition".
Liu, F. (in preparation). Double focus in General American English.
Liu, F., Xu, Y., & Yu, A. C. L. (in preparation). Pitch targets of stressed syllables in English.
Liu, F., Jiang, C., Xu, Y., Yang, Y., & Stewart, L. (in preparation). Tone and intonation processing in Chinese-speaking congenital amusics.
Liu, F., Jiang, C., Pfordresher, P. Q., Xu, Y., Mantell, J. T., Hu, P., Yang, Y., & Stewart, L. (in preparation). Speech and song processing in Chinese-speaking congenital amusics: Focus vs. melodic accent and lyrics vs. "la".