The effect of local speaking rate on perceived quantity: a comparison between three languages  

Diana Krull, Hartmut Traunmüller & Wim A van Dommelen^

^ Institutt for sprċk- og kommunikasjonsstudier, Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet, Trondheim

In the Proceedings of the XVth ICPhS, Barcelona, August 3-9, 2003: 833-836.


In an earlier experiment, we have shown that the local speaking rate affects the perception of quantity of Estonian listeners. In order to see if this effect is language dependent, we presented the same stimuli to Finns and a subset to Norwegians, whose languages have a different and smaller functional load of quantity distinctions. The results obtained with Estonian and Finnish listeners are compatible with a model of speech perception in which variations in speaking rate are reflected in the pace of an "inner clock" by which listeners measure segment durations. More 'absolute' and narrow scoped results with Norwegians are compatible with such a model only if the inner clocks of listeners with a less demanding linguistic background are assumed to resist such an influence to a higher degree.

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