Pitch Range Variation in High German (L1) and Low German (L2)

Jörg Peters, Marina Frank, Marina Rohloff


Speaking a foreign language is reported to affect pitch range variables, such as overall pitch level and pitch span. The present study examines whether similar pitch effects can be found in a non-standardized L2 that is closely related to the L1 and allows extensive transfer from that language. These effects are investigated for different task types and levels of difficulty. Using a within-speaker design, long-term distributional measures of pitch level and pitch span were obtained from continuous speech of speakers of High German as L1 and Low German as L2. Low German L2 speech had a higher pitch level and a compressed pitch span in most tasks and levels of difficulty. Both effects resulted from raising the pitch floor rather than from variation of peak scaling. There were almost no effects of task difficulty, indicating that either differences in difficulty were too small or the pitch effects observed reflect a global stress reaction caused by switching to a foreign language mode. Overall, the results suggest that the use of a second language can affect pitch range variables, even if the L2 is closely related to the L1.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-133

Cite as: Peters, J., Frank, M., Rohloff, M. (2020) Pitch Range Variation in High German (L1) and Low German (L2). Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020, 650-654, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-133.


@inproceedings{Peters2020,
  author={Jörg Peters and Marina Frank and Marina Rohloff},
  title={{Pitch Range Variation in High German (L1) and Low German (L2)}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020},
  pages={650--654},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-133},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-133}
}