Human listeners can distinguish between languages of different rhythmic classes (e.g. stress- and syllable-timed languages). The present study investigated the role of speech rate in this process. Acoustic data suggests (experiment I) that speech rate can distinguishes as reliable between stress- and syllable-timed languages as previously proposed correlates of speech rhythm (%V, VarcoC and nPVI). Behavioral data showed (experiment II) that listeners make use of rate differences when asked to assess rhythmic characteristics of stress- and syllable-timed languages in delexicalized speech. Results imply that speech rate is an important acoustic correlate for cross-language speech rhythm.