ISCA Archive SpeechProsody 2022
ISCA Archive SpeechProsody 2022

Temporal prosodic cues for COVID-19 in Brazilian Portuguese speakers

Flaviane Fernandes-Svartman, Larissa Berti, Marcus Martins, Beatriz R. Medeiros, Marcelo Queiroz

Temporal aspects of pause in COVID-19 patients' speech are investigated as part of the SPIRA project. Pause is presented as an important candidate to differentiate the speech of COVID-19 patients (target group, n=94) from the speech of healthy subjects (control group, n=99). In order to investigate pause duration and its distribution along the sentence as a prosodic cue, three hypotheses were raised: (1) patient speech includes more pauses than control speech; (2) patient pauses are longer than control pauses; (3) pause distribution is different between groups. Results show that patients' speech has more pauses (3.16 versus 0.85), which are also longer (0.53s versus 0.13s) with respect to control pauses (all differences with p<0.001, Mann-Whitney U-Test). A time series analysis was used to model pause distribution along the sentence, which is shown to be randomly spread in the target group, with pauses occurring at unexpected places, contrasting with predictable pauses for controls. Furthermore, a correct classification was obtained for 87-89% of both target and control groups. These findings, grounded in prosodic aspects, are promising and point out the important role of pause as a biomarker in the speech of COVID-19 patients.

doi: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-43

Cite as: Fernandes-Svartman, F., Berti, L., Martins, M., Medeiros, B.R., Queiroz, M. (2022) Temporal prosodic cues for COVID-19 in Brazilian Portuguese speakers. Proc. Speech Prosody 2022, 210-214, doi: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-43

  author={Flaviane Fernandes-Svartman and Larissa Berti and Marcus Martins and Beatriz R. Medeiros and Marcelo Queiroz},
  title={{Temporal prosodic cues for COVID-19 in Brazilian Portuguese speakers}},
  booktitle={Proc. Speech Prosody 2022},