Perceived Speech Rate: The Effects of Articulation Rate and Speaking Style in Spontaneous Speech

J Acoust Soc Am. 2006 Jan;119(1):582-96. doi: 10.1121/1.2133436.


In this study, the effect of articulation rate and speaking style on the perceived speech rate is investigated. The articulation rate is measured both in terms of the intended phones, i.e., phones present in the assumed canonical form, and as the number of actual, realized phones per second. The combination of these measures reflects the deletion of phones, which is related to speaking style. The effect of the two rate measures on the perceived speech rate is compared in two listening experiments on the basis of a set of intonation phrases with carefully balanced intended and realized phone rates, selected from a German database of spontaneous speech. Because the balance between input-oriented (effort) and output-oriented (communicative) constraints may be different at fast versus slow speech rates, the effect of articulation rate is compared both for fast and for slow phrases from the database. The effect of the listeners' own speaking habits is also investigated to evaluate if listeners' perception is based on a projection of their own behavior as a speaker. It is shown that listener judgments reflect both the intended and realized phone rates, and that their judgments are independent of the constraint balance and their own speaking habits.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Speech Acoustics*
  • Speech Perception / physiology*
  • Verbal Behavior*