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A methodological study into the linguistic dimensions of pitch range differences between German and English.

By Ineke Mennen, Felix Schaeffler and Gerard Docherty


The aim of this paper is to develop the methodology that\ud would allow us to investigate the nature of variability in pitch\ud range across speakers of different languages. In particular, we\ud wanted to investigate whether by using linguistically based\ud pitch range measures, such as those proposed by [1-3], we are\ud able to characterise differences in pitch range across\ud languages. We investigated Southern Standard British English\ud (SSBE) and Northern Standard German (NSG), as it is often\ud assumed that speakers of SSBE have a wider pitch range than\ud speakers of NSG [4]. Using the linguistic measures suggested\ud by [3], we found no such differences between NSG and SSBE,\ud although a difference in the predicted direction was found with\ud another linguistically based measure. Our study highlights the\ud difficulty of using the previously suggested linguistic\ud measures for cross-language comparisons, as some tonal\ud structures are not equally distributed across the two languages.\ud We therefore suggest that more suitable linguistic measures of\ud pitch range may need to take the tonal distribution in the\ud different languages into account

Year: 2008
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