Volume 20, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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A comparison was made between French and Dutch pitch contours at the level of the word and the prosodic word. The overlap between the two systems was supposed to cause problems in the segmentation of words in speech communication for French dominant and Dutch dominant French-Dutch bilinguals. Two types of experiments were reported. In the first type native speakers of French (French dominant French-Dutch bilinguals) read Dutch sentences. These sentences are ambiguous without orthographic or intonational specification. The resulting French coloured realisations were interpreted by native speakers of Dutch in a way which differed from the interpretation suggested by Dutch orthography.In a second type of experiment pitch contours were manipulated by means of a resynthesis program. The same kind of sentences as in the first experiment were read by native speakers of French (French dominant French-Dutch bilinguals). On the sentences produced by these speakers a Dutch pitch contour was superimposed. This contour corresponded to the orthographic form in which the sentence had been presented to the native speakers of French. Other prosodie or segmental parameters were left unmodified. The resulting sentences were presented to native speakers of Dutch. The results showed that these native speakers of Dutch interpreted these manipulated sentences according to the orthography of the original Dutch stimulus.To control for the influence of other prosodie or segmental features of French in the realisation of the Dutch sentences by the French speakers, a number of Dutch sentences of the same kind as in the previous experiments were read by native speakers of Dutch. Their realisations were provided with a pitch contour corresponding to the contours the French speakers had realised on the same type of sentences. The effect of the pitch modification on the interpretation of these sentences by native speakers of Dutch was the same as the effect of having French dominant bilinguals read the original Dutch sentences.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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