The prosodic features of the "moe" and "tsun" voices
Shigeto Kawahara
May 2016

As a case study of the general theme of this special issue—"different phonetic realizations of different social characters", this paper explores prosodic features of two types of prototypical maid voices, which have been emerging in recent Japanese culture: "moe" and "tsun". Two professional voice actresses read simple Japanese SOV sentences in three types of voices: moe, tsun, and normal. Acoustic analyses show that the moe voice is characterized by higher f0 and louder voice than the normal voice, whereas the tsun voice is characterized by lower f0 and quieter voice. The current study also finds that the speakers manipulate H-tone targets more extensively than L-tone targets to differentiate different speech styles, which is compatible with some previous studies and models of intonation. In terms of its research value, the current findings may not be ground-breaking; however, an additional value of this research lies in the fact that this sort of material makes phonetic analyses more accessible to the general public as well as to students in undergraduate education. To that end, some sample sounds are made available at
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/002949
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: to appear in the Journal of the Phonetic Society of Japan
keywords: phonetics, intonation, vocal aesthetics, tone manipulation, teaching material, phonology
previous versions: v1 [April 2016]
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