Acoustic correlates of Dutch lexical stress re-examined: Spectral tilt is not
always more reliable than intensity
Severijnen, G. G., Bosker, H. R., & McQueen, J. M.
Acoustic correlates of Dutch lexical stress re-examined: Spectral tilt is not always more reliable than intensity. In S. Frota, M. Cruz, & M. Vigário (Eds.
), Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2022
(pp. 278-282). doi:10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-57.
The present study examined two acoustic cues in the production
of lexical stress in Dutch: spectral tilt and overall intensity.
Sluijter and Van Heuven (1996) reported that spectral tilt is a
more reliable cue to stress than intensity. However, that study
included only a small number of talkers (10) and only syllables
with the vowels /aː/ and /ɔ/.
The present study re-examined this issue in a larger and
more variable dataset. We recorded 38 native speakers of Dutch
(20 females) producing 744 tokens of Dutch segmentally
overlapping words (e.g., VOORnaam vs. voorNAAM, “first
name” vs. “respectable”), targeting 10 different vowels, in
variable sentence contexts. For each syllable, we measured
overall intensity and spectral tilt following Sluijter and Van
Results from Linear Discriminant Analyses showed that,
for the vowel /aː/ alone, spectral tilt showed an advantage over
intensity, as evidenced by higher stressed/unstressed syllable
classification accuracy scores for spectral tilt. However, when
all vowels were included in the analysis, the advantage
These findings confirm that spectral tilt plays a larger role
in signaling stress in Dutch /aː/ but show that, for a larger
sample of Dutch vowels, overall intensity and spectral tilt are