… from the pitch contours alone? It should be easy, right? Chinese is a tone language, English isn't, etc.
So try it…
sox –norm $f low_"$f" sinc -300
This is not the only way to remove "segmental" information (vowels and consonants) while preserving prosodic information (pitch and timing), and it's probably not the best way to do this, but it's an easy and commonly-used method.
There are eight audio clips. Listen to them and note for each one whether you think it's English or Chinese. I'd suggest using headphones if you don't have a good sound system connected to your computer, because the low frequencies involved are not well reproduced by small laptop speakers. This is a "forced choice" experiment, so give a clear answer ("English" or "Chinese") in each case. Don't overthink or overanalyze or go over the material multiple times — just listen once and say what comes to mind. If you're not sure, just guess.
OK, we've got 50-odd responses — that's enough for this simple and inadequately designed experiment…
Along with each answer, give a number between 1 and 3 indicating how confident you are in your judgment, where 1 means "no clue, I'm just guessing", 2 means "I think it's X but I'm not sure", and 3 means "no question at all, it's X".
Here are the original files:
|No. who guessed C||7||30||64||55||13||60||54||9|
|No. who guessed E||60||37||3||12||54||7||13||58|
Overall percent correct = 82.7%. Detailed responses are here.
A few preliminary comments:
- Although many people commented that they found the task hard, the overall performance was pretty good. Still, it was far from perfect, and at least one of the clips was quite ambiguous.
- Clips 4 and 7 were the same — this was a screw-up in the script I used to prepare the data — sorry!
- Individual phrases were variable enough to merit a larger experiment to try to figure out what factors are responsible for the variation in judgments.
- Individual subjects were variable enough to merit ditto.
- In a properly-done experiment, we'd want to randomize the order of presentation, for obvious reasons.
- The world needs a good web-based tool for managing experiments of this type.
More later… Thanks to those of you who got your answers in during the first hour or so…
Meanwhile, I'll open up comments again.