15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003


A Contrastive Acoustical Investigation of Orkney and Shetland Intonation

Vincent J. van Heuven, Klaske van Leyden

Universiteit Leiden Centre for Linguistics, The Netherlands

This study presents an acoustical investigation of the melodic differences between Orkney and Shetland dialects. Typical melodic profiles of short statements and (yes/no) questions were derived for Orkney and Shetland. Differences were found in overall pitch (Orkney > Shetland, both valley and peak pivot points), and in the temporal alignment of the accent-lending rise-fall contours, which are located on the stressed syllable in Shetland but clearly shift to the next, i.e. post-stress, syllable in Orkney. Linear Discriminant Analysis was used to determine which of the two sets of cues affords the best separation of Orkney versus Shetland intonation patterns. Pitch level as a single parameter yielded no more than 70% correct. Peak alignment allowed 96% correct dialect classification; a mere 1%-increment was obtained when pitch level was added to the alignment cue. The results of this acoustic study correlate almost perfectly with our earlier perceptual data.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Heuven, Vincent J. van / Leyden, Klaske van (2003): "A contrastive acoustical investigation of Orkney and Shetland intonation", In ICPhS-15, 805-808.