Accent-Groups vs. Stress-Groups in Czech Clear and Conversational Speech

Jan Volín, Radek Skarnitzl


Descriptions of Czech prosody have operated with the term stress-group (foot) for more than a century, probably under an undeclared influence of poetry analyses, but also due to the focus on speech styles that require high clarity. In conjunction with this, however, it has been repeatedly evidenced since the 1970s that the Czech lexically stressed syllable does not exhibit any clear acoustic manifestations, even though division of the speech continuum into units smaller than intonation phrases is undeniable. The present study addresses the clash between the formerly established rules of stress-grouping and the reality of the current Czech language. Analyses were carried out of multiple samples of casual conversational speech and the speech of news readers where high clarity is an imperative. Although no significant departure from the current modal prosodic norms was perceptible through routine observations, analyses of the two speaking styles suggested differing strategies to prosodic parsing. Most noticeably, conversational speech produced longer stress-groups, but at the same time shorter intonation phrases than clear speech. Also, substantial numbers of stress-groups were found that contradicted the traditional model of stress-grouping in Czech. Potential changes in terminology are discussed.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-142

Cite as: Volín, J., Skarnitzl, R. (2020) Accent-Groups vs. Stress-Groups in Czech Clear and Conversational Speech. Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020, 695-699, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-142.


@inproceedings{Volín2020,
  author={Jan Volín and Radek Skarnitzl},
  title={{Accent-Groups vs. Stress-Groups in Czech Clear and Conversational Speech}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020},
  pages={695--699},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-142},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-142}
}