The Inadequacy of Rhythm Metrics to Quantify L2 Suprasegmental Characteristics

Lei He


The study investigated the L2 speech rhythm of Chinese English speakers (L1 = Mandarin) using the metrics of deltaV, deltaC, %V, VarcoV, VarcoC, rPVI-C and nPVI-V. Five native speakers of American English and Mandarin were recruited to record five sentences in English. In addition, the Chinese speakers also recorded five Mandarin sentences. One-way ANOVAs were conducted to see if significant differences exist on each of the metrics among L1 English, L2 English and L1 Mandarin. Results show that the two L1’s are categorically distinct on all metrics, conforming to the perceptually distinct rhythmicities of English and Mandarin. However, no significant differences were found between L1 and L2 English which have different intuitive rhythmicities, suggesting that the metrics are inadequate to capture the suprasegmental details that give the final make-up of speech rhythm.Finally, new directions of speech rhythm research and new applications of the rhythm metrics are sketched.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-208

Cite as: He, L. (2014) The Inadequacy of Rhythm Metrics to Quantify L2 Suprasegmental Characteristics. Proc. 7th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2014, 1095-1099, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-208.


@inproceedings{He2014,
  author={Lei He},
  title={{The Inadequacy of Rhythm Metrics to Quantify L2 Suprasegmental Characteristics}},
  year=2014,
  booktitle={Proc. 7th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2014},
  pages={1095--1099},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-208},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-208}
}