10th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Brighton, United Kingdom
September 6-10, 2009

Pitch Adaptation in Different Age Groups: Boundary Tones versus Global Pitch

Marie Nilsenová, Marc Swerts, Véronique Houtepen, Heleen Dittrich

Tilburg University, The Netherlands

Linguistic adaptation is a process by which interlocutors adjust their production to their environment. In the context of humancomputer interaction, past research showed that adult speakers adapt to computer speech in various manners but less is known about younger age groups. We report the results of three priming experiments in which children in different age groups interacted with a prerecorded computer voice. The goal of the experiments was to determine to what extent children copy the pitch properties of the interlocutor. Based on the dialogue model of Pickering & Garrod, we predicted that children would be more likely to adapt to pitch primes that were meaningful in the context (high or low boundary tone) compared to primes with no apparent functionality (global pitch manipulation). This prediction was confirmed by our data. Moreover, we observed a decreasing trend in adaptation in the older age groups compared to the younger ones.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Nilsenová, Marie / Swerts, Marc / Houtepen, Véronique / Dittrich, Heleen (2009): "Pitch adaptation in different age groups: boundary tones versus global pitch", In INTERSPEECH-2009, 1015-1018.