Interspeech'2005 - Eurospeech

Lisbon, Portugal
September 4-8, 2005

Acoustic Correlates of Contrastive Stress in German Children

Britta Lintfert, Katrin Schneider

University of Stuttgart, Germany

This study examines the acoustic correlates of stress in children's productions of bisyllabic and trisyllabic words, differing in stress placement. Acoustic results of the data of two children aged 4;11 to 6;1 are reported as a part of a more comprehensive study on the acquisition of stress in German. In contrast to recent findings that infants show an early preference in perception for rhythmic patterns in their own language, contrastive stress is supposed to be acquired quite late. Sufficient input must be available to the infants for building up representations of contrastive stress. We found that children around the age of five are able to perceive contrastive word stress but that they may differ in their production from one another. For German, vowel length is the most reliable correlate of word stress in both childrens' utterances. Intensity as well as the voice quality parameters glottal opening and spectral tilt, including rate of closure and skewness, tend to be used adult-like.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Lintfert, Britta / Schneider, Katrin (2005): "Acoustic correlates of contrastive stress in German children", In INTERSPEECH-2005, 1177-1180.