Measuring rhythm in dialects of New Brunswick French: is there a role for intensity?
AbstractIn recent years, research has shown that dialect differences can be characterized, at least partially, with rhythm metrics based on durations of vocalic and consonantal intervals. In the present study, we analyze the potential contribution of another prosodic feature, intensity, in describing cross-dialect differences. Our study looks at sentences read by 140 speakers of three regional varieties of French spoken in New Brunswick (Canada). Durations and intensities were measured for all vocalic and consonantal segments; intensity-based rhythm metrics were calculated with formulas similar to those generally used for duration-based metrics. Results from discriminant analyses show that, while duration-based metrics have a modest degree of success in classifying the three dialects, a better classification is obtained with the intensity-based metrics. Furthermore, the combination of both types of metrics provides the best discrimination. This result supports a multidimensional view whereby different prosodic features contribute to a model of speech rhythm.
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