Speech Prosody 2010

Chicago, IL, USA
May 10-14, 2010

On the Speech-To-Song Illusion: Evidence from German

Simone Falk (1), Tamara Rathcke (2)

(1) Department of German Language, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Germany
(2) Department of English Language, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom

The present study investigates the boundaries of speech and song from an acoustic-perceptual perspective. Using the speech-to-song illusion as a method, we tested rhythmic and tonal hypotheses to find out whether acoustic characteristics can cue the perceptual classification of a sentence by German listeners as sung or spoken. First, our results show that, despite individual differences, the speech-to-song illusion is a robust perceptual phenomenon comparable to those known in visual perception. Second, the experiment revealed that acoustic parameters – especially tonal structure – facilitate the perceptual shift from speech to song pointing to an acoustically guided decoding strategy for speech- vs. song-like signals.

Index Terms: perception, illusion, intonation, tone, rhythm, music

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Falk, Simone / Rathcke, Tamara (2010): "On the speech-to-song illusion: evidence from German", In SP-2010, paper 169.