14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999

A Comparative Study of Speech Rhythm in Arabic, English, and Japanese

Keiichi Tajima (1,2), Bushra Adnan Zawaydeh (1), Mafuyu Kitahara (1)

(1) Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA
(2) ATR Human Information Processing Research Laboratories, Kyoto, Japan

Conventional rhythmic distinctions such as “stress-timing” vs. “syllable-timing” were investigated using a novel technique whereby speakers produced a phrase repeatedly along with a metronome. When stable rhythmic productions of phrases in Arabic, English, and Japanese were compared, Japanese speakers preferred to place the phrase-final syllable at “simple harmonic phases”, such as halfway between the start of successive repetitions. Arabic and English speakers, by contrast, placed stressed syllables at these points. However, Arabic and English were found to differ from each other in the timing of stressed syllables within a phrase. English speakers more closely approximated isochrony of stressed syllables than did Arabic speakers.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Tajima, Keiichi / Zawaydeh, Bushra Adnan / Kitahara, Mafuyu (1999): "A comparative study of speech rhythm in Arabic, English, and Japanese", In ICPhS-14, 285-288.