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

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

Gradient and Categorical Pitch Dimensions in Dutch: Diagnostic Test

Bert Remijsen, Vincent J. van Heuven

Phonetics Laboratory, Leiden University and Holland Institute of Generative Linguistics, The Netherlands

It is not clear, a priori, that the categorical perception (CP) paradigm is sufficiently powerful to uncover CP in intonational contrasts even in cases where these exist beyond doubt. Until recently CP has only been applied to segmental contrasts. The basic applicability of CP to (in)ton(ation)al contrasts, therefore, remains to be shown. We applied the CP-method to the contrast between the high (H%) and low (L%) boundary tone in Dutch, an unchallenged categorical-linguistic distinction. Our results clearly show CP for L% vs. H%; for individual subjects the location of the category boundary correlates with a peak in discriminatory precision. We conclude that tonal dimensions can be perceived categorically, and that the CP-technique is sensitive enough to determine categoriality in tonal dimensions.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Remijsen, Bert / Heuven, Vincent J. van (1999): "Gradient and categorical pitch dimensions in Dutch: diagnostic test", In ICPhS-14, 1865-1868.