Stress-timing and syllable-timing reanalyzed

Journal of Phonetics (Impact Factor: 1.41). 01/1983; 11:51-62.
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    • "The second aspect of timing within this framework is related to the distribution of more prominent elements against the background of less prominent ones. Despite unsuccessful attempts to find isochrony in any of the timing dimensions of speech rhythm as a linguistic structure, or to support the claim that languages are divided into rhythmic classes based on periodicity (Roach, 1982; Pammies Bertran, 1999; Dauer, 1983), empirical evidence confirms the psychological reality of speech rhythm. Adults and babies can discriminate unfamiliar languages with contrastive rhythms, and cannot distinguish between the timing patterns of rhythmically similar languages (Ramus et al., 1999; Ramus and Mehler, 1999). "
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    ABSTRACT: The development of speech rhythm in second language (L2) acquisition was investigated. Speech rhythm was defined as durational variability that can be captured by the interval-based rhythm metrics. These metrics were used to examine the differences in durational variability between proficiency levels in L2 English spoken by French and German learners. The results reveal that durational variability increased as L2 acquisition progressed in both groups of learners. This indicates that speech rhythm in L2 English develops from more syllable-timed toward more stress-timed patterns irrespective of whether the native language of the learner is rhythmically similar to or different from the target language. Although both groups showed similar development of speech rhythm in L2 acquisition, there were also differences: German learners achieved a degree of durational variability typical of the target language, while French learners exhibited lower variability than native British speakers, even at an advanced proficiency level.
    The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 08/2015; 138(2):533-544. DOI:10.1121/1.4923359 · 1.50 Impact Factor
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    • "This result supports the original prediction that stress is crucial for processing in all languages that have it regardless of putative rhythm class; cf. [5] [11] [27]. These results add to a host of studies showing that despite some evidence linking fragment monitoring responses to rhythm class ([9] [10] [22] [29]), such results do not hold for all studies and all types of stimuli. "
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    ABSTRACT: In a syllable monitoring experiment, Greek and English speakers (N = 20 per language) monitored for [ma] embedded in Greek real and nonce words; [ma] was word-initial, word-medial or word-final, and stressed, unstressed or rhythmically stressed. Both groups spotted stressed [ma] faster than unstressed [ma]; unstressed [ma] was spotted faster by Greek than English participants. Rhythmically stressed [ma] patterned with unstressed [ma] for both groups. Word category (real or nonce) did not affect latencies. These results show that stress played an important role whether participants were responding to unfamiliar (nonce) stimuli (Greeks) or processing in an altogether unfamiliar language with different stress requirements (English). The importance of stress did not depend on rhythm class, as has sometimes been argued, though familiarity with language did affect responses. The results do not support the view that processing is related to rhythm class and confirm that Greek makes only a binary stress distinction.
    18th ICPhS, Glasgow; 08/2015
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    • "The AE of child-directed speech is dominated by modulations at both ∼2 Hz and ∼5 Hz (Leong and Goswami, 2014; designated the " stressed syllable " and " syllable " rates). Dauer (1983) showed that 2 Hz is the approximate rate of stressed syllable production across languages (see also Ghitza and Greenberg, 2009). In rhythmic child-directed speech, for example nursery rhymes, Leong et al. (2014) showed that syllable prominence is determined by phase alignment of these two AM rates. "
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    ABSTRACT: Children with specific language impairments (SLIs) show impaired perception and production of spoken language, and can also present with motor, auditory, and phonological difficulties. Recent auditory studies have shown impaired sensitivity to amplitude rise time (ART) in children with SLIs, along with non-speech rhythmic timing difficulties. Linguistically, these perceptual impairments should affect sensitivity to speech prosody and syllable stress. Here we used two tasks requiring sensitivity to prosodic structure, the DeeDee task and a stress misperception task, to investigate this hypothesis. We also measured auditory processing of ART, rising pitch and sound duration, in both speech (" ba ") and non-speech (tone) stimuli. Participants were 45 children with SLI aged on average 9 years and 50 age-matched controls. We report data for all the SLI children (N = 45, IQ varying), as well as for two independent SLI subgroupings with intact IQ. One subgroup, " Pure SLI, " had intact phonology and reading (N = 16), the other, " SLI PPR " (N = 15), had impaired phonology and reading. Problems with syllable stress and prosodic structure were found for all the group comparisons. Both subgroups with intact IQ showed reduced sensitivity to ART in speech stimuli, but the PPR subgroup also showed reduced sensitivity to sound duration in speech stimuli. Individual differences in processing syllable stress were associated with auditory processing. These data support a new hypothesis, the " prosodic phrasing " hypothesis, which proposes that grammatical difficulties in SLI may reflect perceptual difficulties with global prosodic structure related to auditory impairments in processing amplitude rise time and duration.
    Frontiers in Psychology 07/2015; 6. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00972 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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