Prosodic encoding of sarcasm at the sentence level in Dutch

Nelleke Jansen, Aoju Chen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the prosodic characteristics of sarcastic speech in Dutch. Twenty native speakers of Dutch produced sentences in a sarcastic and sincere way in a simulated telephone conversation task. Prosodic analysis at the sentence-level shows that in Dutch sarcasm is characterised by a longer duration, lower intensity, and less vocal noise compared to sincere speech. Utterance type and speaker gender influence the use of pitch and duration to realise sarcasm: pitch is lowered in some utterance types but raised in others, and female speakers expand pitch span, while male speakers use greater durational differences. These findings can partly be explained by referring to an emphasis-based theory of sarcastic prosody, whereby speakers draw attention to what is said by using a slower speech rate and clearer voice, and a distancing hypothesis, whereby speakers lower the intensity and pitch to distance themselves from the lexical meaning of the utterance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes
Event10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020
- Tokyo, Japan
Duration: 25-May-202028-May-2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Conference on Speech Prosody
ISSN (Print)2333-2042


Conference10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020


  • prosody
  • sarcasm
  • Dutch
  • production
  • telephone conversation task
  • Prosody
  • Production
  • Telephone conversation task
  • Sarcasm

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