Pitch Range, Dynamism and Level in Postcolonial Varieties of English: A Comparison of Educated Indian English and British English

Robert Fuchs


Pitch range (difference between maximum and minimum pitch), pitch dynamism and mean pitch level have been shown to differ between varieties of English, and such differences can lead to (un)favourable judgements about a speaker's attitude and likeability. Little is known about pitch range in nativised varieties of English, which are spoken in postcolonial countries. While in many functional and structural ways they are similar to native varieties, in other ways they resemble learner varieties. Since learners commonly have a compressed pitch range compared to native speakers, this paper investigates pitch range and level in 20 speakers of Educated Indian English (IndE) in order to determine whether IndE is similar to British English or more like learner varieties in this respect. The analysis reveals that IndE has a smaller pitch range than British English in read speech, but a wider pitch range in spontaneous speech, which is not compatible with results for learner varieties. Moreover, IndE has a higher pitch level than BrE. These prosodic differences might explain reports of cross-cultural communication difficulties. Finally, the comparison of four different L1 backgrounds in IndE also shows small L1-based differences, which, however, are not significant.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-180

Cite as: Fuchs, R. (2018) Pitch Range, Dynamism and Level in Postcolonial Varieties of English: A Comparison of Educated Indian English and British English. Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018, 893-897, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-180.


@inproceedings{Fuchs2018,
  author={Robert Fuchs},
  title={Pitch Range, Dynamism and Level in Postcolonial Varieties of English: A Comparison of Educated Indian English and British English},
  year=2018,
  booktitle={Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018},
  pages={893--897},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-180},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-180}
}