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Speaking fundamental frequency differences in highly proficient bilinguals of German/English

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Nick Miller


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Numerous studies attest to the cross language differences that have lead to important advances in understanding how language is processed and which have important implications for clinical and educational issues. One area that has been largely neglected concerns speaking fundamental frequency (SFF). It is well known that SFF differs across languages, but to date few studies have examined SFF in bilingual speakers. We investigated SFF in 12 highly fluent bilingual female speakers and 12 matched monolingual speakers for each language (12 in German, 12 in English). Electroglottographic measurements were made from samples of spontaneous speech (relating a joke) and reading. The SFF of the monolingual English vs. German speakers differed significantly (ANOVA p = 0.001) from each other. The SFF of the bilingual speakers differed significantly according to which language they were speaking (p = 0.008), with English higher. They also differed significantly in both languages from the monolingual comparators (p = 0.001 for both languages), with values between the two monolingual groups. We discuss the results in relation to sociocultural and forensic issues as well as in relation to voice diagnostic and therapeutic implications and lessons for second language acquisition. © Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Scharff-Rethfeldt W, Miller N, Mennen I

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Sprache Stimme Gehor

Year: 2008

Volume: 32

Issue: 3

Pages: 123-128

ISSN (print): 0342-0477

ISSN (electronic): 1439-1260

Publisher: Georg Thieme Verlag


DOI: 10.1055/s-0028-1083799


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