Speech Rhythm and Phonology of Standard Indian English

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1 The Speech Rhythm and Phonology of Standard Indian English Workshop on Norms and Standards in Indian English and Other South Asian Englishes 02 June 2014

2 1 The Concept of Speech Rhythm 2 3

3 What is speech rhythm? Stress-timed languages (English, German) vs. syllable-timed languages (Spanish, French) (Abercrombie 1967; Pike 1945) Also: varieties - British/American English vs. Indian, Singapore, Nigerian English Definition of speech rhythm is controversial Two most recent definitions: Duration (Low 1998; Low et al. 2000; Ramus et al. 1999) Prominence

4 Rhythm and variability Syllable-timing Stress-timing Syllable-timing: Durations of syllables and vowels more similar to each other Stress-timing: Durations less similar to each other How can durational variability be measured? Standard deviation of durations of vocalic intervals/syllables (normalised for speech rate) Stress-timed languages have more/longer consonant clusters -> less time taken up by vowels (percentage of vowel duration over total utterance duration)

5 Beyond vowels and syllables Distinction between vowels and consonants not very salient (e.g. /w/ vs. /a/ and /w/ vs. /p/) Better: Sonorant vs. obstruent durations Voiced vs. unvoiced durations (Dellwo et al. 2007) For each of these, measures of durational variability and of percentage of utterance duration can be derived

6 Prominence and rhythm Correlates of prominence: Duration, intensity/loudness, f 0 /pitch, sonority Syllable-timing Stress-timing Also: Variability in intensity, loudness, f 0, variation in sonority Rate of pre-vocalic glottal stop insertion (e.g. <town is> pronounced as [taunpiz]) Speech rate (Dellwo 2008)

7 Data The Concept of Speech Rhythm Read and spontaneous speech 20 speakers of educated IndE (L1 Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Malayalam), 10 speakers of BrE (Fuchs 2013) Representative of standard IndE and BrE

8 Results The Concept of Speech Rhythm Is IndE more syllable-timed than BrE? Acoustic correlates of speech rhythm that suggest IndE is more stress-timed than BrE Acoustic correlates of speech rhythm that suggest IndE has a similar rhythm to BrE Acoustic correlates of speech rhythm that suggest IndE is more syllable-timed than BrE

9 IndE more stress-timed than BrE Speech rate: lower in IndE

10 Similar rhythm in IndE and BrE Percentage of vocalic and sonorant durations over total utterance duration Variability of syllable durations: sometimes equal in both varieties Variability of voiced and sonorant durations Variation in sonority: similar in both varieties in spont. speech

11 IndE more syllable-timed than BrE Variability of vocalic durations: smaller in IndE Influence of differences in f 0 on perceived duration (Fuchs 2014/submitted) Variability of syllable durations: sometimes smaller in IndE Percentage of voiced durations over total utterance duration: higher in IndE Variation in sonority: less in IndE read speech Variability in intensity and loudness: smaller in IndE Simultaneous variability in duration and loudness reinforcing each other: less frequent in IndE (Fuchs 2014/submitted) Prevocalic glottal stop insertion at word boundaries: more frequent in IndE

12 Summary The Concept of Speech Rhythm Very good evidence that Standard IndE is more syllable-timed than BrE Difference is perceptually relevant: Speakers of both varieties assign talkers to an Indian or British group on the basis of rhythm differences (Fuchs 2014/to appear) Difference between Standard IndE and BrE not greater than that between some dialects of BrE (Ferragne 2008)

13 Supra-segmental characteristics More syllable-timed rhythm Pre-vocalic glottal stop insertion at word boundaries (absence of linking) Frequent use of L* and L*H phrase accents (for references for this and the following points, see Fuchs 2013)

14 Segmental characteristics (acoustic studies) Variable rhoticity Variable realisation of /r/ as [ô R r fi ô] FACE vowel realised as [e] GOAT vowel realised as [o] Variable merger of the STRUT, COMMa and NURSE vowels, realised as [2 Tense - lax distinction not consistently maintained Variable /v/ - /w/ merger, realised as [V w]

15 Segmental characteristics (no acoustic studies) Retroflex consonants in the place of /t/ and /d/ No aspiration in pre-vocalic plosives Pronunciation of the BrE dental fricatives /D/ and /T/ as dental plosives [d ] and [t h ]

16 Acro-, meso-, basilect Crucial distinction between acro-, meso- and basilectal speakers Acrolectal speakers = Attended English-medium schools + university education Lectal differences might explain conflicting findings of previous studies (e.g. lax-tense distinction) Acrolectal speakers are relatively homogeneous in phonology (Sirsa and Redford 2013) and (at least some features of) syntax (Lange 2012) Homogeneity of acrolectal/standard IndE is commensurate with placing IndE in phase 3 (nativisation) of Schneider s Dynamic Model of Postcolonial Varieties of English (Schneider 2007)

17 Regional differentiation Mukherjee (2007) argues that IndE entered phase 4 (endonormative stabilisation) in the 1960s - this would imply regional differentiation If differences are found between educated L1 Hindi speakers of IndE vs. L1 Telugu speakers - are they due to L1 influence or regional differentiation within IndE? (cf. Sirsa and Redford 2013) Comparison of L1 Hindi speakers of IndE from, for example, Delhi and Hyderabad might answer this question

18 References I The Concept of Speech Rhythm Abercrombie, David (1967). Elements of General Phonetics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Dellwo, Volker (2008). The role of speech rate in perceiving speech rhythm. In: Proceedings of Speech Prosody Campanela, pp Dellwo, Volker, Adrian Fourcin, and Evelyn Abberton (2007). Rhythmical classification of languages based on voice parameters. In: Proceedings of ICPhS XVI. Ed. by Jürgen Trouvain and William J. Barry. Dudweiler: Pirrot, pp Ferragne, Emmanuel (2008). Etude Phonétique des Dialectes Modernes de l Anglais des Iles Britanniques: Vers l Identification Automatique du Dialecte. PhD thesis. Université Lumière Lyon 2.

19 References II The Concept of Speech Rhythm Fuchs, Robert (2013). Speech Rhythm in Educated Indian English and British English. (available upon request from the author). PhD thesis. University of Münster. (2014/submitted). Towards a perceptual model of speech rhythm: Integrating the influence of f0 on perceived duration. In: Proceedings of Interspeech Ed. by Helen Meng and Bin Ma. Singapore. (2014/to appear). You re not from around here, are you? - A dialect discrimination experiment with speakers of British and Indian English. In: Prosody and Language Contact. Ed. by Elisabeth Delais-Roussarie, Mathieu Avanzi, and Sophie Herment. Berlin: Springer. Lange, Claudia (2012). The Syntax of Spoken Indian English. Amsterdam: Benjamins. Low, Ee Ling (1998). Prosodic Prominence in Singapore English. PhD thesis. University of Cambridge.

20 References III The Concept of Speech Rhythm Low, Ee Ling, Esther Grabe, and Francis Nolan (2000). Quantitative characterization of speech rhythm: Syllable-timing in Singapore English. In: Language and Speech 43.4, pp Mukherjee, Joybrato (2007). Steady states in the evolution of New Englishes: Present-day Indian English as an equilibrium. In: Journal of English Linguistics 35.2, pp Pike, Kenneth Lee (1945). The Intonation of American English. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Ramus, Franck, Marina Nespor, and Jacques Mehler (1999). Correlates of linguistic rhythm in the speech signal. In: Cognition 73, pp Schneider, Edgar W. (2007). Postcolonial English: Varieties Around the World. Cambridge, etc.: Cambridge University Press.

21 References IV The Concept of Speech Rhythm Sirsa, Hema and Melissa A. Redford (2013). The effects of native language on Indian English sounds and timing patterns. In: Journal of Phonetics 41.6, pp

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