Comparing native and non-native speech rhythm using acoustic rhythmic measures: Cantonese, Beijing Mandarin and English

Peggy Mok, Volker Dellwo
This study investigates the speech rhythm of Cantonese, Beijing Mandarin, Cantonese-accented English and Mandarinaccented English using acoustic rhythmic measures. They were compared with four languages in the BonnTempo corpus: German and English (stress-timed) and French and Italian (syllable-timed). Six Cantonese and six Beijing Mandarin native speakers were recorded reading the North Wind and the Sun story with a normal speech rate, telling the story semi-spontaneously and reading the
more » ... version of the story. Both raw and normalised rhythmic measures were calculated using vocalic, consonantal and syllabic durations (ΔC, ΔV, ΔS, %V, VarcoC, VarcoV, VarcoS, rPVI_C, rPVI_S, nPVI_V, nPVI_S). Results confirm the syllabletiming impression of Cantonese and Mandarin. Data of the two foreign English accents poses a challenge to the rhythmic measures because the two accents are syllable-timed impressionistically but were classified as stress-timed by some of the rhythmic measures (ΔC, rPVI_C, nPVI_V, ΔS, VarcoS, rPVI_S and nPVI_S). VarcoC and %V give the best classification of speech rhythm in this study.
doi:10.5167/uzh-111798 fatcat:lzc4p45ajfbaxoznxmnpcrrf7e