I speak English natively, but I have learned Spanish to a high level of proficiency and speak Latvian (still learning) with my wife who speaks Latvian natively and English with native proficiency (while not technically her first language, she is indistinguishable from native).

She mentioned that I speak Latvian with a higher pitch voice, which I believe to be my attempt to get my vowels more towards the front. My wife does not have a pitch change between Latvian and English. My pitch change seems aggravated with works I have not encountered before.

In Spanish, I believe I do the same, but with a lesser pitch change.

I have trouble understanding how lower the pitch without shifting my vowels back.

Is this a symptom of learning a language? How do I fix it?

  • 1
    Is speaking with your wife a large part of how you've been learning Latvian? Anecdotally, I've heard that men who learn Japanese from speaking primarily to women/a woman, like a wife or girlfriend, rather than to other men may end up using a higher pitch than is usual for Japanese men, because they imitate not only the vocabulary and grammar of the person they've listened to the most, but also some vocal qualities like pitch. (Or at least, they don't correct sufficiently for the greater pitch difference in Japanese than in English between a typical female speaker and a typical male speaker.) Feb 28, 2020 at 19:44
  • @ewawe Yes, mostly my wife. Another interesting thing is that I actually have a harder time understanding men in Latvian, but that could also just be because I mostly speak with my wife.
    – user21059
    Feb 28, 2020 at 21:17

1 Answer 1


I found a good analysis of Language pitch https://erikbern.com/2017/02/01/language-pitch.html

Turns out there is a difference,

The difference isn't actually super big, it's about half an octave on a piano. Still, it's something that's very noticeable to a human.

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