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

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

Word Level Timing in Spontaneous Japanese Speech

Takayuki Arai (1), Natasha Warner (2)

(1) Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan
(2) Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

This study provides evidence against the hypothesis that Japanese has word level mora-timing. Unlike previous studies which used careful speech, this paper evaluates timing in a corpus of spontaneous Japanese speech from 11 speakers.
   Correlations between word duration and number of moras in the word are shown to be much lower than in careful speech studies. Furthermore, if there were durational normalization at the level of the word, then there should be some unit across which this normalization takes place. However, we show that there is no consistency across speakers as to whether the lexical word or the prosodic word serves as such a unit. Analyses of arbitrarily truncated words further confirm that a linear accumulative model of variance can explain the data, but a model with mora compensation cannot.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Arai, Takayuki / Warner, Natasha (1999): "Word level timing in spontaneous Japanese speech", In ICPhS-14, 1055-1058.