The Effect of listener and speaker gender on the perception of rises in AusE

Elaine Schmidt, Brechtje Post, Carmen Kung, Ivan Yuen, Katherine Demuth

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    Australian English (AusE) uses High Rising Tunes at the end of questions and statements. However, it remains unclear whether listeners can distinguish between them perceptually. This study analyses the identification of question- and statement-rises in the absence of contextual information. Results suggest that identification is strongly influenced by speaker and listener gender. Specifically, it appears that male listeners use pitch differences in pitch accents for perceptual discrimination, just as they do in production, while female listeners rely on the speaker gender: female utterances are perceived as questions, male utterances as statements. Contrastingly, listener gender did not affect the interpretation of boundary tones: the highest tones are associated with questions, the lowest with statements. However, the middle step shows the bias for questions of female and statements of male speakers again. These results are important for L2 learners of AusE, and hearing impaired populations where subtle pitch differences are lost.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences
    Editors The Scottish Consortium for ICPhS 2015
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherInternational Phonetic Association
    Number of pages5
    ISBN (Print)9780852619414
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    EventInternational congress of phonetic sciences (18th : 2015) - Glasgow, UK
    Duration: 10 Aug 201514 Aug 2015


    ConferenceInternational congress of phonetic sciences (18th : 2015)
    CityGlasgow, UK

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2015. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • Intonation
    • Perception experiment
    • High Rising Tunes (HRTS)
    • Australian English


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