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An exploration of the rhythm of Malay

Wan Ahmad, Wan Aslynn Salwani and Docherty, G. J and Samoylova, Ekaterina (2010) An exploration of the rhythm of Malay. In: BAAP 2010 Colloquium, 29-31 March 2010, London, United Kingdom. (Unpublished)

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In recent years there has been a surge of interest in speech rhythm. However we still lack a clear understanding of the nature of rhythm and rhythmic differences across languages. Various metrics have been proposed as means for measuring rhythm on the phonetic level and making typological comparisons between languages (Ramus et al, 1999; Grabe & Low, 2002; Dellwo, 2006) but the debate is ongoing on the extent to which these metrics capture the rhythmic basis of speech (Arvaniti, 2009; Fletcher, in press). Furthermore, cross linguistic studies of rhythm have covered a relatively small number of languages and research on previously unclassified languages is necessary to fully develop the typology of rhythm. This study examines the rhythmic features of Malay, for which, to date, relatively little work has been carried out on aspects rhythm and timing. The material for the analysis comprised 10 sentences produced by 20 speakers of standard Malay (10 males and 10 females). The recordings were first analysed using rhythm metrics proposed by Ramus et. al (1999) and Grabe & Low (2002). These metrics (∆C, %V, rPVI, nPVI) are based on durational measurements of vocalic and consonantal intervals. The results indicated that Malay clustered with other so-called syllable-timed languages like French and Spanish on the basis of all metrics. However, underlying the overall findings for these metrics there was a large degree of variability in values across speakers and sentences, with some speakers having values in the range typical of stressed-timed languages like English. Further analysis has been carried out in light of Fletcher’s (in press) argument that measurements based on duration do not wholly reflect speech rhythm as there are many other factors that can influence values of consonantal and vocalic intervals, and Arvaniti’s (2009) suggestion that other features of speech should also be considered in description of rhythm to discover what contributes to listeners’ perception of regularity. Spectrographic analysis of the Malay recordings brought to light two parameters that displayed consistency and regularity for all speakers and sentences: the duration of individual vowels and the duration of intervals between intensity minima. This poster presents the results of these investigations and points to connections between the features which seem to be consistently regulated in the timing of Malay connected speech and aspects of Malay phonology. The results are discussed in light of current debate on the descriptions of rhythm.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Additional Information: 5212/74468
Uncontrolled Keywords: Malay, Phonetics, Suprasegmental, Rhythm
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Kulliyyahs/Centres/Divisions/Institutes (Can select more than one option. Press CONTROL button): Kulliyyah of Allied Health Sciences
Kulliyyah of Allied Health Sciences > Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology
Depositing User: Dr Wan Aslynn Wan Ahmad
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2019 21:42
Last Modified: 24 Sep 2019 21:42
URI: http://irep.iium.edu.my/id/eprint/74468

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