Fundamental Frequency Differences Including Language Effects
Mathilde Theelen graduated in Linguistics at the University of Amsterdam with an additional semester at the University of Edinburgh. She is mainly focused on phonetics, second language acquisition and computational linguistics. She is currently doing a master's degree in Artificial Intelligence at the VU but will next year start an MPhil at the University of Cambridge.
This study examines the variability in fundamental frequency of spoken foreign languages and the variation of this frequency between Dutch and English. Fundamental frequency can be seen as the objective variant of pitch and can thus be measured. For measuring the differences, an experiment was set-up, in which speakers of different languages were recorded. Studying this phenomenon is relevant because former studies only looked at either how a second language affects the fundamental frequency or affects different languages, whereas this will be combined in the current study. For the former part of the study, it was found that people do not necessarily change their fundamental frequency when speaking a foreign language. For the latter part of the study, it was found that people speak Dutch with a higher fundamental frequency compared to English.