Variation in Articulation Rate in New Brunswick French


  • Wladyslaw Cichocki University of New Brunswick, CA
  • Luke Hagar University of Waterloo, CA
  • Yves Perreault Université de Moncton, CA


This study examines articulation rate (AR) in French spoken in five regions of New Brunswick. French is a minority language in this province, and the demographic concentrations of French speakers vary across regions, suggesting that the regions have different degrees of French–English contact. The main research question explored in this paper is how the different language contact situations are related to AR. Earlier research on contact varieties of various languages has shown that AR tends to be slower in regions where there are greater degrees of language contact ([1–4]). The present study also includes consideration of other factors that can affect AR variation: speaker gender and age, and length of inter-pause intervals (IPIs) ([5–7]).Speech data are from the RACAD speech corpus of New Brunswick Acadian French, originally designed for speech recognition applications. Analyzed in this study are two ‘calibration’ sentences that were read by all 136 participants. The sample size is well-balanced with a good distribution of gender and age for all five regions. Acoustic labeling – phones, syllables, pauses – was carried out with Praat ([8]). AR was calculated – locally per speaker – as the number of syllables in an IPI (and measured in syllables per second).Linear mixed-effects modeling shows that the region factor is not significant, that is, ARs did not differ across the different contact situations. This result is discussed in terms of earlier research on prosodic variation in contact varieties. Nevertheless, the effects of other factors are significant and are consistent with previous research. With respect to gender, males read the sentences faster than females. In the case of the age factor, AR decreased with speaker age. These findings contribute to a description of the temporal properties of contact varieties of Canadian French, an area that remains relatively under-documented.

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How to Cite

Cichocki W, Hagar L, Perreault Y. Variation in Articulation Rate in New Brunswick French. Canadian Acoustics [Internet]. 2023 Oct. 9 [cited 2024 Apr. 20];51(3):200-1. Available from:



Proceedings of the Acoustics Week in Canada