British speakers are thought to vary their pitch range more (their voice goes more up and down) than German speakers do, but this has never been systematically compared.

The main aim of this project is to develop the methodology that would allow us to investigate the nature of variability in pitch range across speakers of different languages.

In this project the use of pitch range in the read speech of a group of 30 female German speakers will be compared to that of 30 female British speakers.

Two measurement techniques will be used, one which is based on long-term raw statistical methods involving mean and median values, another which is based on specific target points in speech that are linguistic in nature. These measures will be statistically analysed and followed by a perception study in which listeners are asked to rate German and English speech (which is low-pass filtered to filter out verbal content and some voice quality but preserve f0) on how German/English it sounds.

The strength of correlations between speakers' judgements and the various measures of cross-language difference will then be examined. This will determine which measures of pitch range are perceptually relevant in cross-language comparisons.

Start date
17 September 2006
End date
16 October 2008
Grant holder
Professor Ineke Mennen
Professor Gerard Docherty
Grant amount
Grant reference
Linguistics (General)
Grant type