ISCA Archive SpeechProsody 2008
ISCA Archive SpeechProsody 2008

Comparing native and non-native speech rhythm using acoustic rhythmic measures: Cantonese, Beijing Mandarin and English

Peggy P. K. Mok, Volker Dellwo

This study investigates the speech rhythm of Cantonese, Beijing Mandarin, Cantonese-accented English and Mandarin-accented English using acoustic rhythmic measures. They were compared with four languages in the BonnTempo corpus: German and English (stress-timed) and French and Italian (syllable-timed). Six Cantonese and six Beijing Mandarin native speakers were recorded reading the North Wind and the Sun story with a normal speech rate, telling the story semi-spontaneously and reading the English version of the story. Both raw and normalised rhythmic measures were calculated using vocalic, consonantal and syllabic durations (ÄC, ÄV, ÄS, %V, VarcoC, VarcoV, VarcoS, rPVI_C, rPVI_S, nPVI_V, nPVI_S). Results confirm the syllable-timing impression of Cantonese and Mandarin. Data of the two foreign English accents poses a challenge to the rhythmic measures because the two accents are syllable-timed impressionistically but were classified as stress-timed by some of the rhythmic measures (ÄC, rPVI_C, nPVI_V, ÄS, VarcoS, rPVI_S and nPVI_S). VarcoC and %V give the best classification of speech rhythm in this study.


Cite as: Mok, P.P.K., Dellwo, V. (2008) Comparing native and non-native speech rhythm using acoustic rhythmic measures: Cantonese, Beijing Mandarin and English. Proc. Speech Prosody 2008, 423-426

@inproceedings{mok08_speechprosody,
  author={Peggy P. K. Mok and Volker Dellwo},
  title={{Comparing native and non-native speech rhythm using acoustic rhythmic measures: Cantonese, Beijing Mandarin and English}},
  year=2008,
  booktitle={Proc. Speech Prosody 2008},
  pages={423--426}
}