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How stable are acoustic metrics of contrastive speech rhythm?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Laurence WhiteORCiD


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Acoustic metrics of contrastive speech rhythm, based on vocalic and intervocalic interval durations, are intended to capture stable typological differences between languages. They should consequently be robust to variation between speakers, sentence materials, and measurers. This paper assesses the impact of these sources of variation on the metrics %V (proportion of utterance comprised of vocalic intervals), VarcoV (rate-normalized standard deviation of vocalic interval duration), and nPVI-V (a measure of the durational variability between successive pairs of vocalic intervals). Five measurers analyzed the same corpus of speech: five sentences read by six speakers of Standard Southern British English. Differences between sentences were responsible for the greatest variation in rhythm scores. Inter-speaker differences were also a source of significant variability. However, there was relatively little variation due to segmentation differences between measurers following an agreed protocol. An automated phone alignment process was also used: Rhythm scores thus derived showed good agreement with the human measurers. A number of recommendations for researchers wishing to exploit contrastive rhythm metrics are offered in conclusion. © 2010 Acoustical Society of America.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wiget L, White L, Schuppler B, Grenon I, Rauch O, Mattys SL

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

Year: 2010

Volume: 127

Issue: 3

Pages: 1559-1569

Online publication date: 23/03/2010

ISSN (print): 0001-4966

ISSN (electronic): 1520-8524

Publisher: Acoustical Society of America


DOI: 10.1121/1.3293004

PubMed id: 20329856


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