Speech Prosody 2010

Chicago, IL, USA
May 10-14, 2010

Speech Rhythm as Durational Marking of Prosodic Heads and Edges. Evidence from Catalan, English, and Spanish

Pilar Prieto (1,2), Maria del Mar Vanrell (2), Lluïsa Astruc (3), Elinor Payne (4), Brechtje Post (5)

(1) ICREA, Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats, Barcelona, Spain
(2) Departament de Traducció i Ciències del Llenguatge, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain
(3) Department of Languages, The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
(4) Phonetics Laboratory, University of Oxford, and St Hilda's College, Oxford, UK
(5) RCEAL, University of Cambridge, and Jesus College, Cambridge, UK

Data from a total of 24 speakers reading 720 utterances from Catalan, English, and Spanish show that differences in rhythm metrics emerge even when syllable structure and vowel reduction are controlled for in the experimental materials, strongly suggesting that important differences in timing exist in these languages, and thus that the rhythmic percept is not solely dependent on these two phonological properties in a given language. Further analyses of the data indicate that the rhythmic class distinctions under consideration finely correlate with differences in the way languages instantiate two prosodic timing processes, namely durational marking of prosodic heads and prosodic edges. A prosody-based hypothesis is proposed regarding the importance of these durational patterns across languages for the perception of rhythmic contrasts.

Index Terms: rhythm, index measures, prosody-based view of rhythm, prominence duration, final lengthening, Spanish language, Catalan, English, Spanish.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Prieto, Pilar / Vanrell, Maria del Mar / Astruc, Lluïsa / Payne, Elinor / Post, Brechtje (2010): "Speech rhythm as durational marking of prosodic heads and edges. evidence from Catalan, English, and Spanish", In SP-2010, paper 951.