13th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Portland, OR, USA
September 9-13, 2012

From PVI to Perception: A Return to the Roots of Rhythm in Broadcast News

Matthew Benton

Department of Linguistics and TESOL The University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas, USA

In the mid 1900s, scholars such as Lloyd James (1940), Pike (1945), and Abercrombie (1967) popularized the theory of syllable-timed and stresstimed languages using impressionistic judgments. At that time, the ears of the researchers determined rhythm types. However, in current years, there has been a shift towards an empirical investigation of speech rhythm based on speakers' production of particular languages. A notable lack of research on the perception of rhythm exists since the mid twentieth century. This study tested perception of rhythmic differences between languages using data previously shown to be statistically different based on rhythm metrics. Using what was thought to be prototypical speech rhythm samples of Chinese and English Broadcast news, this work has shown that 60 listeners of various language backgrounds were able to perceive the difference between these two languages, using only acoustic correlate based rhythm cues, with accuracy that was better than chance.

Index Terms: speech rhythm perception, PVI, non-laboratory speech rhythm

Full Paper

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Bibliographic reference.  Benton, Matthew (2012): "From PVI to perception: a return to the roots of rhythm in broadcast news", In INTERSPEECH-2012, 683-686.