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

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

A Microprosodic Approach to Analyzing Speech Rate Effects in Sociophonetic Variation

Jeff Tennant

University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

This paper outlines a method, based on a normalization procedure using microprosodic criteria, for investigating speech rate effects on deletion variables in French. Weighting factors are established based on the intrinsic length of segments (vowels, consonants, and glides) as well as the conditioning effect of phonological environment (stress, syllabic position), as observed in a corpus of spontaneous speech. These weighting factors are used to adjust duration measurements taken in the immediate context of each token of the dependent variable, in order to obtain a reading for speech rate (in segments per second) which allows comparison across samples differing in length and phonetic content. The method is applied to L-deletion in the pronoun elle in the speech of a Canadian French speaker. Comparison of mean normalized speech rates for tokens with L maintained and those with L deleted shows a significant effect: L is deleted more frequently at higher speech rates.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Tennant, Jeff (1999): "A microprosodic approach to analyzing speech rate effects in sociophonetic variation", In ICPhS-14, 1405-1408.