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Language Pitch

Erik Bern did a fun exercise and analyzed the pitch of speakers in various languages: Apparently Dutch is substantially deeper than German (it is also louder, but he did not analyze that).

There was a very definite point when I realized that I had to change my voice to get to the next level with my accent. Oddly enough it was actually while studying German (my third language). It felt awkward at first to alter my voice to the point where I didn’t feel like it was myself talking. But on the other hand I could hear myself sounding so much more German (if you know what I mean). Having been through this transformation I decided to change my “English voice” as well.


Published inAls Deutscher in den NiederlandenScience


  1. Andre

    After having a couple of lessons in acting school myself: Many people, especially women, are speaking waaaaay to high.. With me, it has a lot to do with anxiety.. the more relaxed I am, the deeper my voice.. And as an Aspie, it doesn’t happen very often that I’m relaxed around people :D

    But women are usually shocked when learning about their natural pitch instead of just going with what they think is normal…

  2. I can confirm with public speaking training and train-the-trainer training: pitch is very important and very hard to get right: getting pitch right makes the differences between someone understanding you easily and having a very tough time.

  3. AndreasLobinger

    I remember seeing tables like this some/long time ago in the work on speech codecs for GSM (and other 2G systems).

    Where do i see in the data the ” Dutch is substantially deeper than German” ?

  4. Tobi

    I had the chance to work with Erik and his team at a consulting gig we had with Spotify. Wicked smart guy :)

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