The effect of non-conclusive melodic rises on Czech speech sounding French

Tomáš Bořil, Pavel Šturm, Radek Skarnitzl, Marie Hévrová (Charles University, Prague), Barbara Köpke (Université Toulouse — Jean Jaurès)




This paper is based on a study of first language attrition in Czechs living in France, which reveals that Czech expatriates in France use prominent rises in non-conclusive intonation patterns in their native language. We manipulated the speech of six expatriates by reducing the fundamental frequency (f 0) range of non-conclusive rises in a phrase, and the speech of six Czech control speakers by expanding the f 0 range to mimic the French-like prominent rises. The manipulations served, alongside filler items, as the basis for a perception test in which 37 native Czech listeners assessed how much the speakers’ pronunciation manifested marks of a long-term stay in France. The results confirmed our hypothesis that expanding the control speakers’ f 0 range would increase the perceived effect of French. However, reducing the f 0 range in the expatriate group did not yield lower French-effect ratings, most likely due to the presence of other pronunciation features in their speech.


cross-linguistic influence, intonation, L1 attrition, non-conclusive melody, speech perception




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