14thAnnual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Lyon, France
August 25-29, 2013

Revisiting Pitch Slope and Height Effects on Perceived Duration

Carlos Gussenhoven (1), Wencui Zhou (2)

(1) Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, The Netherlands
(2) MPI for Psycholinguistics, The Netherlands

The shape of pitch contours has been shown to have an effect on the perceived duration of vowels. For instance, vowels with high level pitch and vowels with falling contours sound longer than vowels with low level pitch. Depending on whether the comparison is between level pitches or between level and dynamic contours, these findings have been interpreted in two ways. For inter-level comparisons, where the duration results are the reverse of production results, a hypercorrection strategy in production has been proposed. By contrast, for comparisons between level pitches and dynamic contours, the longer production data for dynamic contours have been held responsible. We report an experiment with Dutch and Chinese listeners which aimed to show that production data and perception data are each other's opposites for high, low, falling and rising contours. We explain the results, which are consistent with earlier findings, in terms of the compensatory listening strategy of [1], arguing that the perception effects are due to a perceptual compensation of articulatory strategies and constraints, rather than that differences in production compensate for psycho-acoustic perception effects.


  1. Gussenhoven, C., “A vowel height split explained: Compensatory listening and speaker control”, in J. Cole and J.I. Hualde [Eds], Laboratory Phonology 9, 145-172, Mouton de Gruyter, 2007.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Gussenhoven, Carlos / Zhou, Wencui (2013): "Revisiting pitch slope and height effects on perceived duration", In INTERSPEECH-2013, 1365-1369.