Fonetiek en vreemde-talenonderwijs
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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The purpose of the experiments reported on here was to attain an inventory of systematic intonational deviations observed in English utterances produced by native speakers of Dutch. In two production tests acoustic measurements are described of magnitude, slope, duration, direction and position of fundamental frequency contours, produced by native speakers of Dutch and of English on English utterances.In two perception tests the original capricious fundamental frequency contours (sentence melody) were replaced by experimentally controlled artificial contours, without greatly disturbing the remaining acoustic cues.In this way the perceptual relevance of the deviations could be tested by means of a subjective evaluation by native speakers of English. Finally two experiments are described which are of an exploratory character, in the latter of which use was made of spectrally rotated speech. The overall data of the experiments allow for the following conclusion:(a) British English listeners are able to judge the acceptability of resynthesized pitch contours in a very consistent manner.(b) Deviations which appear to be particularly relevant to the perception of non-nativeness are in order of perceptual importance: Magnitude of the pitch movement, WH-attribute (particular configuration often found on so-called WH-Questions), Direction of the pitch movement, Continuation (complex movement often found before a pause in a speech signal) and occasionally Inclination (slowly rising pitch from Mid to High level).(c) The perceptual relevance of some deviations appeared to be dependent on the linguistic structure of the utterance, viz. Overshoot (rise at end), Reset (virtual jump from Mid to High).The ultimate goal of our investigation is to come to an explicit inventory of perceptually relevant deviations. Suc an inventory would be helpful to establish an elementary set of rules concerning English intonation on behalf of Dutch learners of English.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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