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Speech rhythm in multiethnolectal Zurich German


Morand, Marie-Anne; Bruno, Melissa; Julmi, Nora; Schwab, Sandra; Schmid, Stephan (2020). Speech rhythm in multiethnolectal Zurich German. In: 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020, Tokyo, Japan, 2020 - 2020, 566-570.

Abstract

Multiethnolects have been observed in (Western) Europe for about 30 years, also in Zurich – the biggest city in German- speaking Switzerland, characterized by ethnic and linguistic diversity. Speech rhythm appears to be a salient feature of several European multiethnolects and has been described as a ‘staccato’ rhythm. However, a sociophonetic investigation of rhythm in Swiss German multiethnolects is lacking so far.
To investigate rhythmic characteristics of multiethnolectal Zurich German, we recorded read speech of 48 adolescents of two schools in Zurich. Forty adolescents from a third school rated speech samples to indicate how multiethnolectal the speakers sound on a 7-point Likert scale. These rating scores were then correlated with various rhythm metrics (%V, ΔC, ΔV; varcoC, varcoV; nPVI-C, nPVI-V).
We found significant correlations between vowel variability measurements and rating scores as well as between syllable rate and rating scores. In contrast, we found no corre- lations with consonantal variability measurements. Our results support the view that multiethnolectal Zurich German uses less vowel reduction in unstressed syllables which leads to the impression of a ‘staccato’ rhythm of this variety.

Abstract

Multiethnolects have been observed in (Western) Europe for about 30 years, also in Zurich – the biggest city in German- speaking Switzerland, characterized by ethnic and linguistic diversity. Speech rhythm appears to be a salient feature of several European multiethnolects and has been described as a ‘staccato’ rhythm. However, a sociophonetic investigation of rhythm in Swiss German multiethnolects is lacking so far.
To investigate rhythmic characteristics of multiethnolectal Zurich German, we recorded read speech of 48 adolescents of two schools in Zurich. Forty adolescents from a third school rated speech samples to indicate how multiethnolectal the speakers sound on a 7-point Likert scale. These rating scores were then correlated with various rhythm metrics (%V, ΔC, ΔV; varcoC, varcoV; nPVI-C, nPVI-V).
We found significant correlations between vowel variability measurements and rating scores as well as between syllable rate and rating scores. In contrast, we found no corre- lations with consonantal variability measurements. Our results support the view that multiethnolectal Zurich German uses less vowel reduction in unstressed syllables which leads to the impression of a ‘staccato’ rhythm of this variety.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech), not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Computational Linguistics
Dewey Decimal Classification:000 Computer science, knowledge & systems
410 Linguistics
Language:English
Event End Date:2020
Deposited On:03 Jun 2020 07:04
Last Modified:03 Jun 2020 19:30
Publisher:ISCA
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.21437/speechprosody.2020-116

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