The Vocative Chant and Beyond: German Calling Melodies Under Routine and Urgent Contexts

Sergio I. Quiroz, Marzena Żygis


This paper investigates calling melodies produced by 21 Standard German native speakers on a discourse completion task across two contexts: (i) routine context — calling a child from afar to come in for dinner; (ii) urgent context — calling a child from afar for a chastising. The intent of this investigation is to bring attention to other calling melodies found in German beside the vocative chant and to give an insight to their acoustic profile.

Three major melodies were identified in the two contexts: vocative chant (100% of routine context productions), urgent call (100% of male urgent context productions, 52.2% female productions), and stern call (47.8% female urgent context productions). A subsequent quantitative analysis was carried out on these calls across these parameters: (i) tonal scaling at tonal landmarks; (ii) proportional alignment of selected tonal landmarks with respect to the stressed or last vowel; and (iii) amplitude (integral and RMS) and (iv) duration of the stressed vowel, stressed syllable, and word. The resulting data were analyzed using a linear mixed model approach.

The results point to significant differences in the contours produced in the aforementioned parameters. We also proposed a phonological description of the contours in the framework of Autosegmental-Metrical Phonology.


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1635

Cite as: Quiroz, S.I., Żygis, M. (2017) The Vocative Chant and Beyond: German Calling Melodies Under Routine and Urgent Contexts. Proc. Interspeech 2017, 1208-1212, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1635.


@inproceedings{Quiroz2017,
  author={Sergio I. Quiroz and Marzena Żygis},
  title={The Vocative Chant and Beyond: German Calling Melodies Under Routine and Urgent Contexts},
  year=2017,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2017},
  pages={1208--1212},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1635},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1635}
}