Perception of Suspense in Live Football Commentaries from German and British Perspectives

Barbara Samlowski, Friederike Kern, Juergen Trouvain


The following study investigates the acoustic cues that British and German speakers rely on to assign the beginning of suspense during live football commentaries. In a perception experiment, participants were asked to listen to goal scenes broadcasted on British and German public radio, German private radio, and German public television, and to determine the point at which they felt that the suspense began. To disentangle textual cues from prosodic factors, a subgroup of participants were presented with delexicalized audio files that had been processed through a low-pass filter to eliminate any textual information, while a further group of participants based their decisions only on orthographic transcripts of the reporters' speech. The results indicated that British and German participants alike regarded a steep increase in fundamental frequency as a clear signal for the onset of suspense, while the verbal content of what was said played a subordinate role. However, there were also differences in the way in which suspense was perceived by German and English listeners. In particular, German participants were more consistent in their interpretation of delexicalized files than English participants, and did not gain as much from the additional information presented in the original files.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-8

Cite as: Samlowski, B., Kern, F., Trouvain, J. (2018) Perception of Suspense in Live Football Commentaries from German and British Perspectives. Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018, 40-44, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-8.


@inproceedings{Samlowski2018,
  author={Barbara Samlowski and Friederike Kern and Juergen Trouvain},
  title={Perception of Suspense in Live Football Commentaries from German and British Perspectives},
  year=2018,
  booktitle={Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018},
  pages={40--44},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-8},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-8}
}