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Phonetica. 2014;71(4):271-95. doi: 10.1159/000381627. Epub 2015 May 20.

Fundamental Frequency Range in Japanese and English: The Case of Simultaneous Bilinguals.

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Phonetics Laboratory, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.


This article reports an experiment to test whether Japanese and English speakers vary their fundamental frequency (f0) range as a function of the language spoken. Speech samples of Japanese-(American) English simultaneous bilinguals (5 males, 5 females; all undergraduates at UC Berkeley) performing comparable reading tasks in their two native languages were analysed. The study builds on a relatively new approach to measuring f0 range that computes its high and low points from tonal targets in the intonational phonology. Unlike in most previous studies where f0 range is traditionally treated as a one-dimensional measure, f0 range in this study is measured along two quasi-independent dimensions: level and span. Findings revealed statistically significant crosslanguage differences between Japanese and English in both dimensions. This provides new insights into the relation between prosodic structure and f0 range in these two typologically different prosodic systems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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