ISCA Archive SpeechProsody 2022
ISCA Archive SpeechProsody 2022

Syllable rate and speech rhythm in multiethnolectal Zurich German: a comparison of speaking styles

Marie-Anne Morand, Melissa Bruno, Sandra Schwab, Stephan Schmid

Multiethnolectal ways of speaking have been emerging for 30 years in culturally and linguistically diverse neighborhoods of European cities, including Zurich (Switzerland). Among the prosodic features of Germanic multiethnolects, a so-called ‘staccato’ rhythm has been mentioned in several studies. For instance, a comparison between two groups of adolescents (12 speakers each) showed that speakers of multiethnolectal Zurich German displayed slower syllable rates and less vowel duration variability than speakers of a rather traditional dialect. This study compares syllable rate and speech rhythm metrics (nPVI-V, nPVI-C) in spontaneous and read speech of 48 Zurich German adolescents. In a regression analysis, rhythmic measures were compared with the perception of how multiethnolectal the speakers sounded (rating score). The results showed that syllable rate and nPVI-V were related to rating score independently of speaking style (read, spontaneous speech): Speakers who were perceived as more multiethnolectal had a slower syllable rate and less vowel duration variability. Such findings were not observed for nPVI-C. These results suggest that syllable rate and speech rhythm (at least, vowel duration variability) are stable phonetic features of multiethnolectal Zurich German, since the relationship between these features and the perception of multiethnolectal speech was observed in both read and spontaneous speech.


doi: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-69

Cite as: Morand, M.-A., Bruno, M., Schwab, S., Schmid, S. (2022) Syllable rate and speech rhythm in multiethnolectal Zurich German: a comparison of speaking styles. Proc. Speech Prosody 2022, 337-341, doi: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-69

@inproceedings{morand22_speechprosody,
  author={Marie-Anne Morand and Melissa Bruno and Sandra Schwab and Stephan Schmid},
  title={{Syllable rate and speech rhythm in multiethnolectal Zurich German: a comparison of speaking styles}},
  year=2022,
  booktitle={Proc. Speech Prosody 2022},
  pages={337--341},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-69}
}