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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 May 2014

Ineke Mennen*
Bangor University
Felix Schaeffler
Queen Margaret University Edinburgh
Catherine Dickie
Bangor University
*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Ineke Mennen, Bangor University, Centre for Research on Bilingualism, 37-41 College Road, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 2DG, UK. E-mail:


This study examines pitch range production in the read speech of female German second language (L2) learners of English of moderate to advanced proficiency. The study set out to identify to what extent the learners deviated from or adopted the language-appropriate pitch range values of the target language. Two potential ways in which the learners could deviate from or approximate the target were recognized: (a) by globally expanding their pitch range or (b) by adjusting their pitch range in a position-sensitive way that is linked to the phonetic realization patterns of underlying high and low tones at different points in intonation contours.

Results showed that the L2 speakers produced pitch range values that were often language appropriate or approximated the target, although some deviations from the target were also identified. Deviations and target approximation were found to be position sensitive; that is, L2 learners were found to adjust their pitch range differently at the beginning as compared to later parts of intonational phrases.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

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This research was partially supported by a research grant from the Economic and Social Research Council (RES-000-22-1858) and an Arts and Humanities Research Council fellowship to the first author (AH/J000302/1). Many thanks are extended to Mikhail Ordin and Bettina Beinhoff for their help in recruiting and recording the German learners of L2 English.



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