Bilingualism, pitch range and social factors: preliminary results from sequential Japanese-English bilinguals

Elisa Passoni, Adib Mehrabi, Erez Levon, Esther de Leeuw


Previous research shows that pitch range varies across languages and dialects as a result of different linguistic structures as well as of extra-linguistic factors which influence prosody. Mastering the pitch range of a second language (L2) has been reported to be a particularly challenging task, due to the multiple functions of prosody and the various domains along which it varies, from linguistic to socio-cultural. We designed a reading task aiming to explore the effect of bilingualism on socially constrained attributes of pitch range in female and male Japanese native speakers, who have acquired English as an L2 after having fully acquired their first language (L1, i.e. Japanese). Specifically, we looked at the effect of formality on the pitch range of both female and male speakers, while they were addressing both female and male recipients. Initial results from a small pilot indicate that, irrespective of whether female or male, surprisingly, Japanese-English bilinguals had a lower mean F0 in Japanese than in English; and a wider span in Japanese than in English. Moreover, the Japanese-English bilingual female displayed more pitch variation in the different formality settings than did the Japanese-English bilingual male.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-78

Cite as: Passoni, E., Mehrabi, A., Levon, E., de Leeuw, E. (2018) Bilingualism, pitch range and social factors: preliminary results from sequential Japanese-English bilinguals. Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018, 384-388, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-78.


@inproceedings{Passoni2018,
  author={Elisa Passoni and Adib Mehrabi and Erez Levon and Esther {de Leeuw}},
  title={Bilingualism, pitch range and social factors: preliminary results from sequential Japanese-English bilinguals},
  year=2018,
  booktitle={Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018},
  pages={384--388},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-78},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-78}
}