Speech rate and rhythmic variation in Brazilian Portuguese

Alexsandro R. Meireles, João Paulo Tozetti, Rogério R. Borges, Federal University of Espírito Santo - Departamento de Línguas e Letras

This paper discusses new inventive methodologies for the classification of speech rhythms. Moreover, it sheds new light in the search for isochrony in speech by showing that fast rates exacerbates the timing characteristics of rhythms, i.e., syllable- and/or stress-timing properties are more easily perceived at these rates. This finding is supported by an acoustic experiment which showed that the standard deviation of VV duration and/or SG duration is smaller at fast rates. In addition, this work reveal that the decrease of standard deviation of SG and/or VV duration is influenced by many factors such as dialect, gender, and sentence structure. This article, therefore, calls attention to another condition that need to be controlled in the study of speech rhythm: the rhythm variability across dialects.