Speech timing and linguistic rhythm: on the acoustic bases of rhythm typologies

Rathcke, T. and Smith, R. (2015) Speech timing and linguistic rhythm: on the acoustic bases of rhythm typologies. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 137(5), 2834. (doi: 10.1121/1.4919322) (PMID:25994711)

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Research into linguistic rhythm has been dominated by the idea that languages can be classified according to rhythmic templates, amenable to assessment by acoustic measures of vowel and consonant durations. This study tested predictions of two proposals explaining the bases of rhythmic typologies: the Rhythm Class Hypothesis which assumes that the templates arise from an extensive vs a limited use of durational contrasts, and the Control and Compensation Hypothesis which proposes that the templates are rooted in more vs less flexible speech production strategies. Temporal properties of segments, syllables and rhythmic feet were examined in two accents of British English, a “stress-timed” variety from Leeds, and a “syllable-timed” variety spoken by Panjabi-English bilinguals from Bradford. Rhythm metrics were calculated. A perception study confirmed that the speakers of the two varieties differed in their perceived rhythm. The results revealed that both typologies were informative in that to a certain degree, they predicted temporal patterns of the two varieties. None of the metrics tested was capable of adequately reflecting the temporal complexity found in the durational data. These findings contribute to the critical evaluation of the explanatory adequacy of rhythm metrics. Acoustic bases and limitations of the traditional rhythmic typologies are discussed.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Copyright (2015) Acoustical Society of America. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the Acoustical Society of America. The following article appeared in (citation of published article) and may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4919322
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Rathcke, Dr Tamara and Smith, Dr Rachel
Authors: Rathcke, T., and Smith, R.
Subjects:P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PE English
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Journal Name:Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Publisher:Acoustical Society of America
ISSN (Online):1520-8524
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 Acoustical Society of America
First Published:First published in Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 137(5):2834
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
480471Timing in Accents of EnglishRachel SmithEconomic & Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/G001456/1CRIT - ENGLISH LANGUAGE