Speech Rhythm in Varieties of English

Evidence from Educated Indian English and British English

  • Robert Fuchs

Part of the Prosody, Phonology and Phonetics book series (PRPHPH)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Robert Fuchs
    Pages 87-102
  3. Robert Fuchs
    Pages 103-111
  4. Robert Fuchs
    Pages 203-216
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 217-226

About this book


This book addresses the question whether Educated Indian English is more syllable-timed than British English from two standpoints: production and perception. Many post-colonial varieties of English, which are mostly spoken as a second language in countries such as India, Nigeria and the Philippines, are thought to have a syllable-timed rhythm, whereas first language varieties such as British English are characterized as being stress-timed. While previous studies mostly relied on a single acoustic correlate of speech rhythm, usually duration, the author proposes a multidimensional approach to the production of speech rhythm that takes into account various acoustic correlates. The results reveal that the two varieties differ with regard to a number of dimensions, such as duration, sonority, intensity, loudness, pitch, and glottal stop insertion. The second part of the study addresses the question whether the difference in speech rhythm between Indian and British English is perceptually relevant, based on intelligibility and dialect discrimination experiments. The results reveal that speakers generally find the rhythm of their own variety more intelligible, and that listeners can identify which variety a speaker is using on the basis of differences in speech rhythm.


British English Dialect Discrimination and Identification Indian English New Englishes Postcolonial Varieties of English Speech Rhythm Variability Index

Authors and affiliations

  • Robert Fuchs
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MünsterMünsterGermany

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016
  • Publisher Name Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences
  • Print ISBN 978-3-662-47817-2
  • Online ISBN 978-3-662-47818-9
  • Series Print ISSN 2197-8700
  • Series Online ISSN 2197-8719
  • Buy this book on publisher's site