10th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Brighton, United Kingdom
September 6-10, 2009

The Rhythm of Text and the Rhythm of Utterances: From Metrics to Models

Daniel Hirst

LPL, France

The typological classification of languages as stress-timed, syllabletimed and mora-timed did not stand up to empirical investigation which found little or no evidence for the different types of isochrony which had been assumed to be the basis for the classification. In recent years, there has been a renewal of interest with the development of empirical metrics for measuring rhythm. In this paper it is shown that some of these metrics are more sensitive to the rhythm of the text than to the rhythm of the utterance itself. While a number of recent proposals have been made for improving these metrics it is proposed that what is needed is more detailed studies of large corpora in order to develop more sophisticated models of the way in which prosodic structure is realised in different languages. New data on British English is presented using the Aix-Marsec corpus.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Hirst, Daniel (2009): "The rhythm of text and the rhythm of utterances: from metrics to models", In INTERSPEECH-2009, 1519-1522.