The functional irrhytmicality of spontaneous speech : A discourse view of speech rhythms
Cauldwell, R. (2002). The functional irrhythmicality of spontaneous speech: A discourse view of speech rhythms. Apples – Journal of Applied Language Studies, Volume 2 (1), pp. 1-24. Retrieved from http://apples.jyu.fi
Published inApples - Journal of Applied Language Studies
Experimental evidence has fully refuted the stress- and syllable-timing hypothesis (SSH) of speech rhythms. However, it remains the prevailing view and still features in accounts of the rhythms of speech because no other hypothesis matches its deceptively bewitching power. This paper, written from a discourse perspective, proposes a replacement for SSH: spontaneous speech is functionally irrhythmic. Although the formal events of speech – phones, strong and weak syllables, words, phrases – occur ‘in time’ (they can be plotted on a time line) they do not occur ‘on time’, (they do not occur at equal time intervals). English is not stress-timed, French is not syllable-timed. The rare patches of rhythmicality are either ‘elected’ – as in scanning readings of poetry and the uttering of proverbs – or ‘coincidental’ – the side-effects of higher order choices made by speakers. Coincidental rhythmicality is most likely to occur where there are equal numbers of syllables between stresses. In spontaneous speech, the speaker’s attention is on planning and uttering selections of meaning in pursuit of their social-worldly purposes, and this results in an irrhythmic norm which aids comprehension. ...
PublisherCentre for Applied Language Studies at the University of Jyväskylä