Age and gender effects in European Portuguese spontaneous speech


  • L. Albuquerque Institute of Electronics and Informatics Engineering of Aveiro, University of Aveiro - Center of Health technology and Services Research, University of Aveiro - Department of Electronics Telecommunications and Informatics, University of Aveiro - Department of Education and Psychology, University of Aveiro
  • A. R. S. Valente Institute of Electronics and Informatics Engineering of Aveiro, University of Aveiro - Department of Electronics Telecommunications and Informatics, University of Aveiro
  • A. Teixeira Institute of Electronics and Informatics Engineering of Aveiro, University of Aveiro - Department of Electronics Telecommunications and Informatics, University of Aveiro
  • C. Oliveira Institute of Electronics and Informatics Engineering of Aveiro, University of Aveiro - School of Health Science, University of Aveiro
  • D. Figueiredo Center of Health technology and Services Research, University of Aveiro - School of Health Science, University of Aveiro



aging, spontaneous speech, rhythm, speaking fundamental frequency


Aging is part of the normal evolution of human beings. However, the knowledge about speech in the older ages is still dispersed and incomplete. Considering conflicting findings reported in prior research, this study aims to contribute to increase our knowledge about age effects on the spontaneous speech of Portuguese adults. In order to analyze the effects of age on rhythmic, intonation and voice quality domains, several parameters were extracted from spontaneous speech produced by 112 adults, aged between 35 and 97. Data were obtained through a picture description task. The results showed that the most consistent age-related effects are an increase in speech pauses, mainly in men, and a Harmonics-to-Noise Ratio (HNR) decrease in women. Speaking fundamental frequency (f0) tends to decrease in women and to slightly increase in men with age. These findings for Portuguese are in line with previous research suggesting that suprasegmental characteristics of speech change with age, with some gender differences.


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How to Cite

Albuquerque, L., Valente, A. R. S. ., Teixeira, A. ., Oliveira, C. ., & Figueiredo, D. . (2021). Age and gender effects in European Portuguese spontaneous speech. Loquens, 8(1-2), e077.




Funding data

European Regional Development Fund
Grant numbers POCI-01-0145-FEDER-03082

Universidade de Aveiro
Grant numbers UIDB/00127/2020

Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
Grant numbers SFRH/BD/115381/2016