On the speaker-dependence of the perceived prominence of F-0 peaks

Carlos Gussenhoven*, T Rietveld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Stimuli in which a recording of an original, somewhat androgynous female voice had been manipulated by means of up-scaling and down-scaling of formant frequencies so as to simulate a female and a male speaker, elicited significantly different prominence judgements from listeners, even when they had identical fundamental frequency (F-0) contours. The stimuli consisted of brief sentences in which one word was provided with a H* + L pitch accent. Formant manipulations were done with the help of LPC resynthesis, and F-0 was manipulated with the PSOLA technique. Accented syllables in the artificial female stimuli were judged to be less prominent than those in the artificial male stimuli. Since the only difference between the two relevant sets of stimuli resides in the spectral envelope patterns, a plausible interpretation of the results is, first, that listeners make an estimated F-0 range for the speaker onto which perceived contours are projected, enabling them to read off the contour's prominence level; and second, that listeners assign higher frequency ranges to female than to male voices. These results confirm the frequently made assumption that perceptual pitch-scaling models which assign F-0 values to phonological H-tones and L-tones must include a speaker-specific component. (C) 1998 Academic Press.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-380
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Phonetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1998



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