A Comparison of Multiple Speech Tempo Measures: Inter-Correlations and Discriminating Power

Robert Lennon, Leendert Plug, Erica Gold

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Studies that quantify speech tempo on acoustic grounds typically use one of various rate measures. Explicit comparisons of the distributions generated by these measures are rare, although they help assess the robustness of generalisations across studies; moreover, for forensic purposes it is valuable to compare measures in terms of their discriminating power. We compare five common rate measures-canonical and surface syllable and phone rates, and CV segment rate-calculated over fluent stretches of spontaneous speech produced by 30 English speakers. We report deletion rates and correlations between the five measures and assess discriminating powers using likelihood ratios. Results suggest that in a sizeable English corpus with normal deletion rates, these five rates are closely inter-correlated and have similar discriminating powers; therefore, for common analytical purposes the choice between these measures is unlikely to substantially affect outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, August 2019, Melbourne
EditorsSasha Calhoun, Paola Escudero, Marija Tabain, Paul Warren
Place of PublicationCanberra
PublisherAustralasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9780646800691
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019
Event19th International Congress of the Phonetic Sciences - Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 5 Aug 20199 Aug 2019
Conference number: 19


Conference19th International Congress of the Phonetic Sciences
Abbreviated titleICPhS 2019
Internet address


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