Speaking rate, information density, and information rate in first-language and second-language speech

Ann R. Bradlow*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

Abstract

Using a corpus of multilingual recordings of a standard text (the North Wind and the Sun passage, NWS) in 11 languages, speaking rate (SR, syllables/second) and information density (ID, number of syllables for the NWS text) were examined in first-language (L1) and second-language (L2) speech. Replicating prior work, cross-language comparison of L1 speech showed a trade-off between SR and ID such that relatively low density languages (many syllables for the NWS text) tended to be produced at relatively fast rates, and vice versa. Furthermore, L2 English was characterized by both slower rate and lower ID than L1 English. That is, L2 English involved more syllables than L1 English for the same NWS text. A comparison of the number of acoustic syllables (i.e. amplitude peaks) with the number of orthographic syllables (i.e. dictionary-based syllable counts for the NWS text) indicated that L1 speech involved substantial syllable reduction (fewer acoustic than orthographic syllables) while L2 speech involved substantial syllable epenthesis (more acoustic than orthographic syllables). These findings suggest that L2 speech production involves temporal restructuring beyond increased segment, syllable and word durations, and that the resultant information rate (information bits transmitted/second) of L2 speech diverges substantially from that of L1 speech.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3559-3563
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association, INTERSPEECH
Volume2019-September
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Event20th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association: Crossroads of Speech and Language, INTERSPEECH 2019 - Graz, Austria
Duration: Sep 15 2019Sep 19 2019

Fingerprint

Information Rates
Acoustics
Speech Production
Diverge
Sun
Glossaries
Speech
Language
Count
Trade-offs
Text

Keywords

  • Cross-language variation
  • Foreign-accented speech
  • Information density
  • Speaking rate
  • Speech production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Signal Processing
  • Software
  • Modeling and Simulation

Cite this

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abstract = "Using a corpus of multilingual recordings of a standard text (the North Wind and the Sun passage, NWS) in 11 languages, speaking rate (SR, syllables/second) and information density (ID, number of syllables for the NWS text) were examined in first-language (L1) and second-language (L2) speech. Replicating prior work, cross-language comparison of L1 speech showed a trade-off between SR and ID such that relatively low density languages (many syllables for the NWS text) tended to be produced at relatively fast rates, and vice versa. Furthermore, L2 English was characterized by both slower rate and lower ID than L1 English. That is, L2 English involved more syllables than L1 English for the same NWS text. A comparison of the number of acoustic syllables (i.e. amplitude peaks) with the number of orthographic syllables (i.e. dictionary-based syllable counts for the NWS text) indicated that L1 speech involved substantial syllable reduction (fewer acoustic than orthographic syllables) while L2 speech involved substantial syllable epenthesis (more acoustic than orthographic syllables). These findings suggest that L2 speech production involves temporal restructuring beyond increased segment, syllable and word durations, and that the resultant information rate (information bits transmitted/second) of L2 speech diverges substantially from that of L1 speech.",
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N2 - Using a corpus of multilingual recordings of a standard text (the North Wind and the Sun passage, NWS) in 11 languages, speaking rate (SR, syllables/second) and information density (ID, number of syllables for the NWS text) were examined in first-language (L1) and second-language (L2) speech. Replicating prior work, cross-language comparison of L1 speech showed a trade-off between SR and ID such that relatively low density languages (many syllables for the NWS text) tended to be produced at relatively fast rates, and vice versa. Furthermore, L2 English was characterized by both slower rate and lower ID than L1 English. That is, L2 English involved more syllables than L1 English for the same NWS text. A comparison of the number of acoustic syllables (i.e. amplitude peaks) with the number of orthographic syllables (i.e. dictionary-based syllable counts for the NWS text) indicated that L1 speech involved substantial syllable reduction (fewer acoustic than orthographic syllables) while L2 speech involved substantial syllable epenthesis (more acoustic than orthographic syllables). These findings suggest that L2 speech production involves temporal restructuring beyond increased segment, syllable and word durations, and that the resultant information rate (information bits transmitted/second) of L2 speech diverges substantially from that of L1 speech.

AB - Using a corpus of multilingual recordings of a standard text (the North Wind and the Sun passage, NWS) in 11 languages, speaking rate (SR, syllables/second) and information density (ID, number of syllables for the NWS text) were examined in first-language (L1) and second-language (L2) speech. Replicating prior work, cross-language comparison of L1 speech showed a trade-off between SR and ID such that relatively low density languages (many syllables for the NWS text) tended to be produced at relatively fast rates, and vice versa. Furthermore, L2 English was characterized by both slower rate and lower ID than L1 English. That is, L2 English involved more syllables than L1 English for the same NWS text. A comparison of the number of acoustic syllables (i.e. amplitude peaks) with the number of orthographic syllables (i.e. dictionary-based syllable counts for the NWS text) indicated that L1 speech involved substantial syllable reduction (fewer acoustic than orthographic syllables) while L2 speech involved substantial syllable epenthesis (more acoustic than orthographic syllables). These findings suggest that L2 speech production involves temporal restructuring beyond increased segment, syllable and word durations, and that the resultant information rate (information bits transmitted/second) of L2 speech diverges substantially from that of L1 speech.

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