8th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Antwerp, Belgium
August 27-31, 2007

The Duration of Speech Pauses in a Multilingual Environment

Mike Demol (1), Werner Verhelst (1), Piet Verhoeve (2)

(1) Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
(2) Televic, Belgium

In this paper we present a study of speech pauses at three different speaking rates, based on the analysis of four hours of read speech in six European languages. Our results confirm earlier observations that the logarithmic duration of the pauses can be well approximated by a bi-Gaussian distribution. We found this also to be true at slow and fast speaking rates. Our analysis further shows that, as far as the long speech pauses are concerned, similar strategies are used in all languages considered. For speaking slowly, speakers increase the total amount of pauses and they use a wider range of pause durations. Overall, there appeared to be no striking change in the average, nor in the variance of the distribution of the pause durations. For speaking rapidly, speakers decrease the amount of pauses used and they refrain from using the longest pauses that occur in their normal speech. Overall, this results in a lower average and a smaller variance of the pause durations.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Demol, Mike / Verhelst, Werner / Verhoeve, Piet (2007): "The duration of speech pauses in a multilingual environment", In INTERSPEECH-2007, 990-993.