ISCA Archive SpeechProsody 2010
ISCA Archive SpeechProsody 2010

Speech is "heterometric": the changing rhythms of speech

Steven Brown, Kyle Weishaar

Work on speech rhythm has been notoriously oblivious to describing actual rhythms in speech. We present here a model of speech rhythm inspired by musical conceptions of meter. We posit that changes in meter are central to speech rhythm, and thus that speech is "heterometric" rather than isochronous. In addition, we see two devices for obviating the need for meter changes within a sentence, both of them involving subdividing component beats: 1) subdivisions according to simple integer ratios, resulting in duplets and triplets; and 2) subdivisions according to complex ratios, resulting in polyrhythms.

Index Terms: Speech, rhythm, meter, music, heterometer, polyrhythm, prominence, stress

Cite as: Brown, S., Weishaar, K. (2010) Speech is "heterometric": the changing rhythms of speech. Proc. Speech Prosody 2010, paper 074

  author={Steven Brown and Kyle Weishaar},
  title={{Speech is "heterometric": the changing rhythms of speech}},
  booktitle={Proc. Speech Prosody 2010},
  pages={paper 074}