Language-specific uses of the effort code

Chen, A., Gussenhoven, C., & Rietveld, T. (2002). Language-specific uses of the effort code. In B. Bel, & I. Marlien (Eds.), Proceedings of the 1st Conference on Speech Prosody (pp. 215-218). Aix=en-Provence: Université de Provence.
Two groups of listeners with Dutch and British English language backgrounds judged Dutch and British English utterances, respectively, which varied in the intonation contour on the scales EMPHATIC vs. NOT EMPHATIC and SURPRISED vs. NOT SURPRISED, two meanings derived from the Effort Code. The stimuli, which differed in sentence mode but were otherwise lexically equivalent, were varied in peak height, peak alignment, end pitch, and overall register. In both languages, there are positive correlations between peak height and degree of emphasis, between peak height and degree of surprise, between peak alignment and degree of surprise, and between pitch register and degree of surprise. However, in all these cases, Dutch stimuli lead to larger perceived meaning differences than the British English stimuli. This difference in the extent to which increased pitch height triggers increases in perceived emphasis and surprise is argued to be due to the difference in the standard pitch ranges between Dutch and British English. In addition, we found a positive correlation between pitch register and the degree of emphasis in Dutch, but a negative correlation in British English. This is an unexpected difference, which illustrates a case of ambiguity in the meaning of pitch.
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