EUROSPEECH 2001 Scandinavia
7th European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology

Aalborg, Denmark
September 3-7, 2001


Language-specific Effects of Pitch Range on the Perception of Universal Intonational Meaning

Aoju Chen, Toni Rietveld, Carlos Gussenhoven

University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Two groups of listeners, with Dutch and British English as their native language judged stimuli in Dutch and British English, respectively, on the scales CONFIDENT vs. NOT CONFIDENT and FRIENDLY vs. NOT FRIENDLY, two meanings derived from Ohala's universal Frequency Code. The stimuli, which were lexically equivalent, were varied in pitch contour and pitch range. In both languages, the perceived degree of confidence decreases and that of friendliness increases when the pitch range is raised, as predicted by the Frequency Code. However, at identical pitch ranges, British English is perceived as more confident and more friendly than Dutch. We argue that this difference in degree of the use of the Frequency Code is due to the difference in the standard pitch ranges of Dutch and British English.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Chen, Aoju / Rietveld, Toni / Gussenhoven, Carlos (2001): "Language-specific effects of pitch range on the perception of universal intonational meaning", In EUROSPEECH-2001, 1403-1406.