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Pitching it differently : a comparison of the pitch ranges of German and English speakers

By Ineke Mennen, Felix Schaeffler and Gerard Docherty


This paper presents preliminary findings of a largescale\ud systematic comparison of various measures\ud of pitch range for female speakers of Southern\ud Standard British English (SSBE) and Northern\ud Standard German (NSG). The purpose of the study\ud as a whole is to develop the methodology to allow\ud comparisons of pitch range across languages and\ud regional accents, and to determine how they\ud correlate with listeners’ perceptual sensitivity to\ud cross-language/accent differences.\ud In this paper we report on how four measures of\ud pitch range in read speech (text, sentences)\ud compare across the two groups of female speakers.\ud Preliminary results show that the measures of the\ud difference between the 90th and 10th percentile (in\ud semitones), and +/- 2 standard deviations around\ud the mean in ST differentiate the groups of speakers\ud in the direction predicted by the stereotypical\ud beliefs described in the literature about German\ud and English speakers. Furthermore, these\ud differences are most obvious in the read text and\ud longer sentences and the effect disappears in\ud sentences of a short duration

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