EUROSPEECH 2001 Scandinavia
7th European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology

Aalborg, Denmark
September 3-7, 2001


Measuring speech rhythm

Dafydd Gibbon, Ulrike Gut

Universitšt Bielefeld, Germany

We address the question of rhythm variation in typologically different languages (English, said to be a stress-timed language, Ibibio, said to be a syllable-timed language) and in different varieties of the same language (British and Nigerian English). Attempts to find correlates of different rhythm types in the acoustic signal have so far not been particularly successful. We examine a number of previous studies, in search of a promising measure of rhythm, and select a recently developed measure (the Pairwise Variability Index of Low & Grabe), with minor modifications and the addition of a binary classifier for focal and nonfocal components of rhythm units. The measure and the classifier are implemented as a software tool which takes esps/waves+ label files as input, and generates statistics on durations, duration differences, the rhythm measure, and a classification of the syllables in the labeled utterance. The results show distinct differences in stress-timing and syllable-timing between Ibibio and English.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Gibbon, Dafydd / Gut, Ulrike (2001): "Measuring speech rhythm", In EUROSPEECH-2001, 95-98.