Pitch alterations in British motherese: Some preliminary acoustic data

Brenda Shute, Kevin Wheldall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Speech samples from eight British female adults addressing young children and another adult were analysed in terms of vocal pitch. Increases in vocal pitch when addressing young children were observed but were smaller than the increases noted by North American researchers, and variability across speakers was marked. Some adults only slightly raised their vocal pitch to young children. Pitch increases were generally more marked for mean as against modal pitch measures, and for free speech as against reading aloud conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-512
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Child Language
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


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