Macro-rhythm in English and Spanish: Evidence from Radio Newscaster Speech

Christine Prechtel


This study quantified and compared macro-rhythm (MacR) in English and Spanish in radio newscaster speech. MacR is defined as phrase-medial tonal rhythm [1], and its relative strength is determined by three rules: 1) the presence or absence of alternating L and H tones within an IP, 2) the uniformity or similarity of the rise-fall slope shapes, and 3) the frequency of the L/H alternation intervals. The degree of MacR strength can be predicted based on the corresponding phonological criteria: the most common type of phrase-medial tone in a languageā€™s tonal inventory (rule 1), the number of phrase-level tones in the inventory (rule 2), and the frequency of f0 rise per Prosodic Word (rule 3). Based on these criteria, Spanish is predicted to have stronger MacR than English. To test this, MacR was quantified in each language by measuring the regularity of distance intervals between tonal targets, the variability of slope shapes, and the number of L/H alternations per Prosodic Word. The results provide some support for the prediction that Spanish has stronger MacR than English in this speech style and they add to previous work comparing MacR strength in English and Spanish in read speech [2, 3].


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-138

Cite as: Prechtel, C. (2020) Macro-rhythm in English and Spanish: Evidence from Radio Newscaster Speech. Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020, 675-679, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-138.


@inproceedings{Prechtel2020,
  author={Christine Prechtel},
  title={{Macro-rhythm in English and Spanish: Evidence from Radio Newscaster Speech}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020},
  pages={675--679},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-138},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-138}
}