Does size matter? An preliminary investigation on the effects of physical size on pitch level in pet-directed speech

Author(s): Yu-Fai Li and Peggy P. K. Mok


This study investigated the use of pitch in pet-directed speech (PDS) when the size of the pet differs. Two Cantonese-speaking owners were recruited to talk with three dogs with different sizes. Results demonstrated that pitch level and dog size were inversely related, i.e., a higher pitch was used with a smaller dog, and vice versa. Other factors may also influence the pitch level of PDS, like the attitude towards the animal. This study provided further details on how speech register is adjusted to the characteristics of human and non-human recipients.