11th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Makuhari, Chiba, Japan
September 26-30. 2010

Measuring Basic Tempo Across Languages and Some Implications for Speech Rhythm

Gertraud Fenk-Oczlon, August Fenk

Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Austria

Basic language-inherent tempo cannot be isolated by the current metrics of speech rhythm. Here we propose the number of syllables per intonation unit as an appropriate measure, also for large-scale comparisons between languages. Applying it to an extended sample of in the meantime 51 languages has not only corroborated our previously reported negative cross-linguistic correlation of this metric with syllable complexity, but has revealed, moreover, significant correlations with several in part directly time-dependent rhythm measures proposed by other authors. We discuss relations between intrinsic tempo and (a) other facets of rhythm and (b) rhythm classifications of language.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Fenk-Oczlon, Gertraud / Fenk, August (2010): "Measuring basic tempo across languages and some implications for speech rhythm", In INTERSPEECH-2010, 1537-1540.