Similar Prosodic Structure Perceived Differently in German and English

Heather Kember, Ann-Kathrin Grohe, Katharina Zahner, Bettina Braun, Andrea Weber, Anne Cutler


English and German have similar prosody, but their speakers realize some pitch falls (not rises) in subtly different ways. We here test for asymmetry in perception. An ABX discrimination task requiring F0 slope or duration judgements on isolated vowels revealed no cross-language difference in duration or F0 fall discrimination, but discrimination of rises (realized similarly in each language) was less accurate for English than for German listeners. This unexpected finding may reflect greater sensitivity to rising patterns by German listeners, or reduced sensitivity by English listeners as a result of extensive exposure to phrase-final rises (“uptalk”) in their language.


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2017-544

Cite as: Kember, H., Grohe, A., Zahner, K., Braun, B., Weber, A., Cutler, A. (2017) Similar Prosodic Structure Perceived Differently in German and English. Proc. Interspeech 2017, 1388-1392, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2017-544.


@inproceedings{Kember2017,
  author={Heather Kember and Ann-Kathrin Grohe and Katharina Zahner and Bettina Braun and Andrea Weber and Anne Cutler},
  title={Similar Prosodic Structure Perceived Differently in German and English},
  year=2017,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2017},
  pages={1388--1392},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2017-544},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2017-544}
}