French and English rhythms are perceptually discriminable with only intensity changes in low frequency regions of speech

  • Tsuyoshi Kuroda
  • Simon Grondin
  • Yoshitaka Nakajima
  • Kazuo Ueda


The purpose of this study was to determine which frequency band would contribute to discrimination between speech rhythms of French and English. Each trial consisted of two noises with different intensity changes. Each intensity change simulated the one that was derived from a frequency band of recorded sentences of French or English; the band had a center frequency of 350, 1000, 2150, or 4800 Hz. Participants evaluated the rhythm dissimilarity of two noises with an 8-point scale. Two noises were evaluated as more dissimilar when two sentences whose intensity changes were simulated by the noises were in different languages than when they were in the same language. Moreover, this tendency was reduced in 4800 Hz compared with the other bands. This indicates that French and English rhythms are discriminable with intensity changes of low frequency bands, even without any signs of pitch and phoneme.

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