15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Non-Native Speech Rhythm in German

Ulrike Gut

Universität Bielefeld, Germany

This study investigates non-native speech rhythm in German. Three native speakers and 18 learners of German with three different native languages were recorded reading and re-telling a story. Vowel reduction and deletion was analyzed in one particular type of German suffix. Speech rhythm was investigated with the syllable ratio, a new measurement which determines the mean ratio of durational relationships between adjacent syllables of different types. Results show significant differences between native and non-native speech rhythm in terms of vowel reduction and deletion and the durational ratio between non-reduced and reduced syllables. The non-native speech rhythm tends to differ in the direction predicted by the rhythmic structure of the L1. However, independent of the native language, non-native rhythm varies with the type of speech (read speech versus story-telling).

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Gut, Ulrike (2003): "Non-native speech rhythm in German", In ICPhS-15, 2437-2440.