Giovanna Marotta, Luca Iacoponi, Alice Idone

Asymmetries between Perception and Production. Pitch and Length in two varieties of Italian (Pisan and Crotonese)

In this paper, original experimental data on the perception of length and pitch by Italian listeners are presented in order to investigate the relevance of native language in the perception of Pisan and Crotonese pitch and duration. Acoustic stimuli relative to the two local varieties of Italian were modified in relation to vowel duration and F0 and then judged via an ABX discrimination test by Pisans, Crotonians and a control group. Prominent vowels in Pisan are consistently modulated, while in Crotonese, duration is used to express prominence. However, in both varieties the two prosodic features are not phonologically distinctive.

The results obtained indicate that all listeners are equally sensitive to pitch and duration. Listeners show no significant preference for their native varieties or for the prosodic feature specific of their own variety, thus suggesting that when not phonologically distinctive, these prosodic features do not influence perception.

The variable of music training is also taken into account, confirming the previous finding of the relevance of a musical education in perceptive tasks involving acoustic parameters, even in verbal stimuli.