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J Voice. 2016 Nov;30(6):772.e1-772.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2015.11.009. Epub 2016 Jan 14.

Self-perceived and Acoustic Voice Characteristics of Russian-English Bilinguals.

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Graduate Program in Speech-Language Pathology, Touro College, Brooklyn, New York.. Electronic address:
Graduate Program in Speech-Language Pathology, Touro College, Brooklyn, New York.



The aim of this study was to investigate the vocal characteristics of bilingual individuals speaking in their native language as compared with the English language.


The participants consisted of 30 vocally healthy adults, 14 adult male and 16 adult female bilingual subjects, with ages ranging from 23 to 70 years old. The procedures included a demographic questionnaire, a self-perceptual questionnaire, and descriptions of two video clips. The self-assessment included 21 questions that investigated how participants perceived their communication characteristics in each language. For the description of the videos, participants randomly watched two video clips with no audio support. One of the videos was described in English and the other in their native language. Voice samples were recorded to allow for acoustic analysis of selected vocal parameters: pitch, intensity, intonation, and rate of speech.


The results indicate that overall, there is no difference in how the individuals perceive their communication characteristics in both languages (all P values > 0.05). The only significant difference was found in speech rate and sentence duration. Individuals had faster speech rate and longer sentences when speaking in English than in Russian. The correlation analysis showed that the younger the participants were when they immigrated to the USA, the more interjections they reported having in their native language.


This study showed that language is a contributing factor to varying speech characteristics of Russian-English bilingual individuals. These findings have important implications for clinicians to be aware of cultural-linguistic influence in vocal and speech features.


Acoustic analysis; Bilinguals; Self-perception; Vocal characteristics

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