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

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

Timing Properties of New Zealand English Rhythm

Paul Warren

School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Recent analyses of full vs. reduced vowel realisations of a set of grammatical words with potentially reduced vowels suggest that New Zealand English (NZE) - like many other varieties of English - is exhibiting a tendency towards a syllable-based rhythm, and that this may be under the influence of contact with Maori. The current research examines the timing patterns that underly these claims for syllable rhythm, using acoustic measures of vowel, syllable and foot duration, as well as derived measures of local timing variability. These analyses confirm that in comparison with samples of British English, NZE shows greater equality of full and reduced vowel durations, and less foot-based syllable compression. However, NZE does not exhibit as strong a tendency towards syllable-based rhythm as has been reported for other varieties such as Singapore English. Within NZE varieties, the tendency to syllable-timing is strongest for Maori English, suggesting a contact influence on NZE.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Warren, Paul (1999): "Timing properties of New Zealand English rhythm", In ICPhS-14, 1843-1846.