A Durational Study of German Speech Rhythm by Chinese Learners

Hongwei Ding, Rüdiger Hoffmann


This study focuses on the temporal and metrical features of the German speech produced by Chinese speakers. German is described to be a stress-timed language, while standard Chinese is regarded as a syllable-timed language. It has been suggested that the rhythm of the target language can be influenced by the learners’ native language. In this study we conducted an investigation of ten sentences with 18 Chinese students in the low intermediate proficiency level in comparison with six native German speakers. We compared the duration values in terms of pairwise variability indices, and found that most of these Chinese speakers have a lower nPVI-V and a higher rPVI-C than the German speakers. We illustrate that the conventional duration measures of nPVI-V can be influenced by the syllable structures of the utterance and the classification approach of vocalic intervals, and a comparable nPVI-V can hardly be expected from different investigations. Furthermore, we argue that duration values alone cannot fully capture the rhythmic patterns of speech because other prosodic parameters such as pitch and energy also join to contribute to rhythmic characteristics of the speech.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-46

Cite as: Ding, H., Hoffmann, R. (2014) A Durational Study of German Speech Rhythm by Chinese Learners. Proc. 7th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2014, 295-299, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-46.


@inproceedings{Ding2014,
  author={Hongwei Ding and Rüdiger Hoffmann},
  title={{A Durational Study of German Speech Rhythm by Chinese Learners}},
  year=2014,
  booktitle={Proc. 7th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2014},
  pages={295--299},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-46},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-46}
}