Duration of syllable-sized units in casual and elaborated speech: cross-language observations on Swedish and Spanish  

Olle Engstrand & Diana Krull

Fonetik 2002, the XVth Swedish Phonetics Conference, Fysikcentrum, Stockholm, May 29 - 31, 2002. Quartely Progress and Status Report (Department of Speech, Music and Hearing and Centre for Speech Technology, KTH, Stockholm) 44: 69-72.


Recordings of careful readings and unscripted monologues in Swedish and Argentinean Spanish were auditorily and acoustically analyzed to test the hypothesis that temporal equalization of syllable-sized contoid-vocoid (CV) sequences typically occurs in casual as opposed to elaborated speaking styles. Results indicated 1) that CV durations and standard deviations appearing in unscripted Swedish tended to resemble those in Argentinean Spanish, 2) that durational differences between unstressed and stressed CV units in unscripted Swedish were smaller than those observed in Swedish careful reading, and 3) that, in both languages and speaking conditions, timing of syllabic units was partly determined by their size. Timing of CV units was, thus, significantly affected by alterations in speaking style. This supports the view that rhythmic patterns associated with stress- and syllable-timing may arise as consequences of more primary phonetic intentions rather than themselves representing such intentions.

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