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Phonetische Experimente

Wir sind oft auf der Suche nach Teilnehmerinnen und Teilnehmer für unsere phonetischen Experimente. Auf dieser Seite finden Sie eine Liste der aktuellen Experimente und Mentoring-Möglichkeiten (falls vorhanden) sowie eine Liste der abgeschlossenen Experimente, damit Sie sich ein Bild davon machen können, woran wir arbeiten.

Aktuelle Experimente

HIER finden Sie weitere Informationen.


Studierende mit grundlegenden phonetischen Kenntnissen und Interesse an der Durchführung phonetischer Experimente haben mitunter die Möglichkeit, sich aktiv an der Entwicklung und Durchführung von Experimenten zu beteiligen. Es ist möglich, für diese Teilnahme nach Rücksprache mit der Projektleiterin oder dem Projektleiter innerhalb der jeweiligen Lehrpläne ECTS zu erhalten.

Wenn Sie die Möglichkeit nutzen möchten, sich aktiv an der Entwicklung und Durchführung von Experimenten zu beteiligen, wenden Sie sich bitte zunächst an Univ.-Prof. PhD Ineke Mennen.

Abgeschlossene Experimente

Jessica Siddins & Ineke Mennen


Southern Standard British English (SSBE) is known to be different from Standard German (SG) in its realisation of pitch accents when the amount of voiced material available for its realisation is very limited (i.e. time pressure). Under such conditions, SSBE tends to ‘compress’ the pitch accent (i.e. realising the whole pitch contour in less time) for both falling and rising pitch accents (Grabe, Post, Nolan & Farrar 2000), whereas SG varieties tend to compress rises but ‘truncate’ (i.e. clipping the end of the contour) falls (Grabe 1998, Yu & Zahner 2018). Our study aimed to investigate whether pitch accent realisation in an AG variety differs from the above pattern reported for SG varieties.

We used the same materials as previous studies (Grabe 1998, Yu & Zahner 2018) for comparable results, adapted only minimally to be natural for AG speakers. 20 speakers from the city of Graz were recorded, but the preliminary analysis described here is restricted to just 10 of these. All 10 were functionally monolingual native speakers of Austrian German aged 21 to 31 (mean age 25.5 years), 6 of whom were female. Participants first read an introductory paragraph for context, then read two target sentences designed to elicit phrase-final pitch accents on rises (yes/no questions) and falls (declaratives):

Rises: Ist das nicht der Herr [target]? Unser neuer Nachbar? Isn’t that Mr. [target]? Our new neighbour?

Falls: Das ist doch der Herr [target]! Unser neuer Nachbar! That’s Mr. [target]! Our new neighbour!

The target was either <Schiefer> for the context with longer voicing duration or <Schiff> for the shorter voicing duration, and 10 repetitions of each token were recorded and analysed. Our results indicate that AG does indeed behave differently to previous studies on SG varieties, in that AG shows compression of both rising and falling pitch accents. On the face of it, this is more similar to the patterns shown for some varieties of English than SG, with one distinction: compression of rising pitch accents in AG is largely in the time domain (as for English and SG), whereas compression of falling pitch accents in AG additionally shows compression of the contour in the frequency domain.

Bevorstehende Publikation:

Siddins, J. & Mennen, I. (2019, in Kürze). Pitch accent realisation in Austrian German. In Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Melbourne, Australia.

Ineke Mennen & Denise Chousi


Our study examines the extent to which successive generations of Greek speakers in Austria show similarities or differences in the timing of prenuclear rises in Greek. Three first-generation adult immigrants from Greece, and three second-generation Austrian born adult heritage-language users read out a set of sentences in Greek. Two Austrian and two Greek monolingual control speakers read out a set of sentences in their respective native languages. Measurements of the timing of the start and end of the rise were taken in Praat.

Results show that Greek and Austrian German differ in the timing of the start of the rise (which begins well into the stressed vowel of the prenuclear target word in Austrian, and just before the onset consonant of the prenuclear target word’s stressed syllable in Greek), but not in the end of the rise. The findings for the first-generation immigrants show evidence of L1 attrition, with a later alignment of the start of the rise compared to the Greek monolingual controls. The second-generation heritage speakers showed similar values to the first-generation speakers. Both groups were observed to produce intermediate values between the Greek and Austrian monolingual control groups.


Mennen, I. & Chousi, D. (2018). Prosody in first-generation adult immigrants and second-generation heritage-language users: the timing of prenuclear rising accents. In Klessa, K., Bachan, J., Wagner, A., Karpínski, M. & Śledziński , D. (Eds.): Proceedings of the 9th Speech Prosody Conference, University of Poznan. DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.

Niamh Kelly & Ineke Mennen


Research has found that German speakers employ a narrower pitch range than British English (BrE) speakers (Mennen, Schaeffler and Docherty, 2012). Such differences can impact on how speakers are perceived, as pitch range is found to independently contribute to a class of character types (Ladd, Silverman, Tolkmitt, Bergmann and Scherer, 1985; Patterson, 2000). There is, for example, strong anecdotal evidence that German speakers are perceived as “bored” by BrE listeners (Eckert & Laver, 1994). As L2 learners often transfer their native pitch range patterns (Mennen, Schaeffler and Dickie, 2014), our question was whether German learners of BrE would be perceived as more bored than native English speakers.

Native BrE listeners rated sentences produced by six female speakers of BrE and six female German learners of BrE on a scale from Bored (1) to Interested (7). In one condition, the sentences were low-pass filtered (LPF) so only prosodic information was perceptible. In a second condition, the LPF sentences were also monotonised (LPF-mono), so only a flat intonation contour was heard. In a third condition, the original sentences were heard.

ANOVAs showed that the German learners were perceived as more bored than native English speakers in the original sentences (L2Eng: 3; NatEng: 5.3). When only prosodic information was available (in the LPF and LPF-mono condition), English speakers were perceived as more bored than in the original sentences, whereas for the L2 learners ratings did not significantly differ across conditions. It appears that L2 learners were already perceived as bored, so the removal of segments and/or the monotonising of intonation had no further effect on perception.

These results confirm anecdotal reports that German speakers are perceived as bored, even when speaking in English. In discussing our results, we highlight the correlation between listener judgements and measures of pitch range, and provide a preliminary account of what learners could improve to make them sound more interested. 


Kelly, N. & Mennen, I. (2016). Do German learners of English sound bored/rude when speaking English? A study on the influence of pitch range on perception of speaker characteristics. Paper presented at the 8th International Symposium on the Acquisition of Second Language Speech (New Sounds 2016). Aarhus, Denmark, 10-12 June 2016.


Ao.Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr.phil.

Martin Löschnigg

Telefon:+43 316 380 - 2481

Mi 10:00 - 12:00 Uhr, Zi. 316

stv. Institutsleiterin


Sarah Mercer

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Telefon:+43 316 380 - 8190

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