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The development of measurable speech rhythm during second language acquisition

Gutiérrez Díez, F; Dellwo, V; Gavaldà, N; Rosen, S; (2008) The development of measurable speech rhythm during second language acquisition. In: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. (pp. 3886 - ?).

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Abstract

It has been demonstrated repeatedly that durational characteristics of consonantal (C) and vocalic (V) intervals are robust acoustic correlates of rhythm class (stress-timed, syllable-timed, mora-timed). Here, we investigate how objective rhythm measures develop during the acquisition of a second language. In a longitudinal study, nine native speakers of Spanish were recorded reading a text in English before and after a year of English language training at university level. A control group of nine native English speakers read the same text. Automatic forced alignment of speech segment boundaries using hidden Markov models allowed the calculation of C and V interval durations. Standard rhythm metrics (%V, deltaC, deltaV, PVI) were calculated for all recordings. First results show that durational C interval characteristics between native English and Spanish English (pre- and post-training) do not differ. However, V interval characteristics (deltaV, nPVI, %V) are lowest for English natives, higher for the Spanish post training group and highest for the Spanish pretraining group. The results suggest that (a) deficits of speech rhythm competence in a second language are mostly revealed on a vocalic level and (b) an increase in competence in a second language is reflected well by measurable speech rhythm.

Type:Proceedings paper
Title:The development of measurable speech rhythm during second language acquisition
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Psychology and Language Sciences (Division of) > Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences
UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences

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