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Re: Statistics for word rate in natural speech


A comment that I hope is helpful.

In our speech work we have learned, from extensive analysis, that the fastest temporal resolution that speech is processed at, by the auditory system, is about 10 [ms]. That means that the natural temporal units for talking about speech (or singing) is in centiseconds [cs]. For example, the plosive burst of say /ka/ is about 1-2 [cs]. I have not found very many examples of less than 1 [cs], as the perception deteriorates quickly when you go below (shorter that) 1 [cs].

Based the numbers below for rapper Big Boi, 379 syllables/m is about 16 [cs]
1000*60/379 = 15.8

This seems like a nice way to quantify this rate. Its close to the perceptual lower limit of 1 [sc]. A full syllable (CV, VC) of 16 seems pretty short.

Jont Allen

On 06/18/2016 11:39 PM, Arun Chandra wrote:
In Mozart's "Le Nozze di Figaro", Bartolo sings his revenge aria at
about quarter == 112mm, which means the syllables are going by in
triplets at about 336 per minute.

in Rossini's "Barber of Seville", the character Bartolo (the same
character, again) sings his accusing aria to Rosina (his ward) at about
quarter == 116mm, which means the sixteenth note syllables are going by
at about 464 per minute.

the "Modern Major General's Song" by Gilbert and Sullivan goes by at
about 184mm, so it's syllables are about 368 per minute.


On 6/18/16 4:07 AM, Huron, David wrote:
We have a wide tolerance for speech with "normal" paces ranging between 170 and 260 syllables per minute.
(Yuan, Liberman & Cieri, 2006; Towards an integrated understanding of speaking rate in conversation. INTER SPEECH conference Proc.)

Music exhibits an enormous range of lyrical pace. Judy Garland's rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" clocks in at a leisurely 64 syllables per minute. By contrast, in "Ms. Jackson" by OutKast, rapper Big Boi reaches an extraordinary 379 syllables per minute.

-David Huron with Nat Condit-Schultz

From: AUDITORY - Research in Auditory Perception [AUDITORY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] on behalf of Bruno L. Giordano [brungio@xxxxxxxxx]
Sent: Friday, June 17, 2016 8:32 AM
To: AUDITORY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Statistics for word rate in natural speech


I am looking for published statistics on average word rate in natural
speech (words/minute).

Is there some golden standard reference for this?

Thank you!


Bruno L. Giordano, PhD
Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology
58 Hillhead Street, University of Glasgow
Glasgow, G12 8QB, Scotland
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