14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999

Male vs. Female Pitch Range in Dutch Questions

Judith Haan (1), Vincent J. van Heuven (2)

(1) Department of General Linguistics and Dialectology, Nijmegen University, The Netherlands
(2) Phonetics Laboratory, Department of Linguistics, Leiden University, The Netherlands

This study focusses on possible sex-related differences in pitch range in Dutch questions. In the literature, it has been claimed that female intonation patterns are more varied and more expressive than those of men. This suggests that female pitch ranges are wider than male, but studies on pitch range do not consistently corroborate that. However, these studies concentrate on declarative speech, as well as on global pitch range. We hypothesised that, in questions, female ranges are wider as women have been reported to be more directed towards establishing interaction. For this, asking questions is an important tool and it is likely that women mark their questions by at least locally widening their pitch range, i.e. in accents and final rises. Examination of read and spontaneous questions showed that, on the whole, female ranges were wider than those of men, not only locally but also globally.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Haan, Judith / Heuven, Vincent J. van (1999): "Male vs. female pitch range in Dutch questions", In ICPhS-14, 1581-1584.