16th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Dresden, Germany
September 6-10, 2015

Linguistic Measures of Pitch Range in Slavic and Germanic Languages

Bistra Andreeva (1), Bernd Möbius (1), Grazyna Demenko (2), Frank Zimmerer (1), Jeanin Jügler (1)

(1) Universität des Saarlandes, Germany
(2) Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland

Based on specific linguistic landmarks in the speech signal, this study investigates pitch level and pitch span differences in English, German, Bulgarian and Polish. The analysis is based on 22 speakers per language (11 males and 11 females). Linear mixed models were computed that include various linguistic measures of pitch level and span, revealing characteristic differences across languages and between language groups. Pitch level appeared to have significantly higher values for the female speakers in the Slavic than the Germanic group. The male speakers showed slightly different results, with only the Polish speakers displaying significantly higher mean values for pitch level than the German males. Overall, the results show that the Slavic speakers tend to have a wider pitch span than the German speakers. But for the linguistic measure, namely for span between the initial peaks and the non-prominent valleys, we only find the difference between Polish and German speakers. We found a flatter intonation contour in German than in Polish, Bulgarian and English male and female speakers and differences in the frequency of the landmarks between languages. Concerning “speaker liveliness” we found that the speakers from the Slavic group are significantly livelier than the speakers from the Germanic group.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Andreeva, Bistra / Möbius, Bernd / Demenko, Grazyna / Zimmerer, Frank / Jügler, Jeanin (2015): "Linguistic measures of pitch range in slavic and Germanic languages", In INTERSPEECH-2015, 968-972.