Volume 19, Issue 3
  • ISSN 1571-0718
  • E-ISSN: 1571-0726
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



In this paper, we put to the test the validity of the theory of isochrony using data from Chilean Spanish. Spanish has been historically classified as syllable-timed, meaning its basic unit of prosody is the syllable. However, recent studies have shown that different methods of elicitation can have a significant effect on rhythm metrics (i.e., Arvaniti 2012). The present study measured a series of rhythm metrics from samples of 30 native Chilean Spanish speakers producing spontaneous speech and reading aloud. Using MANOVA analyses, the study determined that method of elicitation had a significant effect on the metrics: while spontaneous speech tended to produce values indicative of accent-timed rhythm, reading aloud yielded values which placed them closer to the syllable-timed rhythm category. This study helps to contribute to the notion that speech rhythm is not necessarily determined by language, but rather that there are other relevant factors.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Abercrombie, David
    1967Elements of General Phonetics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Arvaniti, Amalia
    2012 “The usefulness of metrics in the quantification of speech rhythm.” Journal of Phonetics40 (3): 351–373. 10.1016/j.wocn.2012.02.003
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wocn.2012.02.003 [Google Scholar]
  3. Bahrick, Lorraine E., and Jeffrey N. Pickens
    1988 “Classification of bimodal English and Spanish language passages by infants.” Infant Behavior and Development11 (3): 277–296. 10.1016/0163‑6383(88)90014‑8
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0163-6383(88)90014-8 [Google Scholar]
  4. Beckman, Mary E., and Jan Edwards
    1994 “Articulatory evidence for differentiating stress categories.” Papers in Laboratory Phonology31: 7–33.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Bertinetto, Pier Marco
    1989 “Reflections on the Dichotomy ‘Stress’ vs. ‘Syllable-timing’.” Revue de Phonétique Apliquée91 (93): 99–130.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Bertinetto, Pier Marco, and Chiara Bertini
    2008 “On modelling the rhythm of natural languages” InProceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Speech Prosody, 427–430.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Boersma, Paul
    2001 “Praat: a system for doing phonetics by computer.” Glot International5 (9/10): 341–345.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Box, George E.
    1949 “A general distribution theory for a class of likelihood criteria.” Biometrika36 (3/4): 317–346. 10.1093/biomet/36.3‑4.317
    https://doi.org/10.1093/biomet/36.3-4.317 [Google Scholar]
  9. Bray, James H., and Scott E. Maxwell
    1985Multivariate analysis of variance (Sage University Paper Series on Quantitative Research Methods, Vol. 54). Newbury Park, CA: Sage. 10.4135/9781412985222
    https://doi.org/10.4135/9781412985222 [Google Scholar]
  10. Choi, Kyungmee, and John Marden
    1997 “An approach to multivariate rank tests in multivariate analysis of variance.” Journal of the American Statistical Association92 (440): 1581–1590. 10.1080/01621459.1997.10473680
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01621459.1997.10473680 [Google Scholar]
  11. Dauer, Rebecca M.
    1983 “Stress-timing and syllable-timing reanalysed.” Journal of Phonetics11 (1): 51–62. 10.1016/S0095‑4470(19)30776‑4
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0095-4470(19)30776-4 [Google Scholar]
  12. 1987 “Phonetic and phonological components of language rhythm.” InProceedings of the 11th international congress of phonetic sciences, 447–450.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Dellwo, Volker
    2006 “Rhythm and speech rate: A variation coefficient for ΔC.” InLanguage and Language Processing: Proceedings of the 38th Linguistic Colloquium, ed. byPawe Karnowski and I. Szigeti, 231–241. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Field, Andy, Jeremy Miles, and Zoë Field
    2012Discovering statistics using R. London: SAGE Publications.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Fox, John, Michael Friendly, and Georges Monette
    2018heplots: Visualizing Tests in Multivariate Linear Models. R package version 1.3–5. Retrieved fromhttps://CRAN.R-project.org/package=heplots
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Grabe, Esther, and Ee Ling Low
    2002 “Durational Variability in Speech and the Rhythm Class Hypothesis.” InPapers in Laboratory Phonology71, ed. byCarlos Gussenhoven and Natasha Warner, 515–546. Berlin: Mounton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110197105.515
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110197105.515 [Google Scholar]
  17. Hamdi-Sultan, Melissa Barkat-Defradas, Emmanuel Ferragne, and Francois Pellegrino
    2004 “Speech Timing and Rhythmic Structure in Arabic Dialects: A Comparison of Two Approaches.” InProceedings of International Speech and Communication Association 2004, 1613–1616.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Huberty, Carl J., and Martha D. Petoskey
    2000 “Multivariate analysis of variance and covariance.” InHandbook of applied multivariate statistics and mathematical modelling, ed. byHoward E. A. Tinsley and Steven D. Brown, 183–208. New York: Academic Press. 10.1016/B978‑012691360‑6/50008‑2
    https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-012691360-6/50008-2 [Google Scholar]
  19. Kachru, Braj B.
    1988 “The Sacred Cows of English.” English Today4 (4): 3–8. 10.1017/S0266078400000973
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0266078400000973 [Google Scholar]
  20. Low, Ee Ling, Esther Grabe, and Francis Nolan
    2000 “Quantitative characterizations of speech rhythm: Syllable-timing in Singapore English.” Language and Speech43 (4): 377–401. 10.1177/00238309000430040301
    https://doi.org/10.1177/00238309000430040301 [Google Scholar]
  21. Mairano, Paolo, and Antonio Romano
    2010 “Un confronto tra diverse metriche ritmiche usando Correlatore 1.0.” InProceedings of the 5th AISV Congress, Zurich, Switzerland, 79–100.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Martínez-Celdrán, Eugenio
    2004 “Problems in the classification of approximants.” Journal of the International Phonetic Association34 (2): 201–210. 10.1017/S0025100304001732
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0025100304001732 [Google Scholar]
  23. Mehler, Jacques, Emmanuel Dupoux, Thierry Nazzi, and Ghislaine Dehaene-Lambertz
    1996 “Coping with linguistic diversity: the infant`s viewpoint.” InSignal to Syntax: Bootstrapping from Speech to Grammar in Early Acquisition, ed. byJames L. Morgan and Katherine Demuth, 101–116. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Nespor, Marina
    1990 “On the rhythm parameter in phonology.” InLogical issues in language acquisition, ed. byIggy M. Roca, 157–175. Dordrecht: Foris. 10.1515/9783110870374‑009
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110870374-009 [Google Scholar]
  25. Nishihara, Tetsuo, and Jeroen Van De Weijer
    2011 “On Syllable-Timed Rhythm and Stress-Timed Rhythm in World Englishes: Revisited.” Bulletin of Miyagi University of Education461: 155–163.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Nocetti, Francisco A., Hernán E. Pérez, and Mauricio Figueroa
    2019 “Estudio descriptivo y comparativo del comportamiento rítmico del habla en lectura en el español de Chile.” Logos29 (1): 60–77. 10.15443/RL2905
    https://doi.org/10.15443/RL2905 [Google Scholar]
  27. Olson, Chester L.
    1979 “Practical considerations in choosing a MANOVA test statistic: a rejoinder to Stevens.” Psychological Bulletin86 (6): 1350–1352. 10.1037/0033‑2909.86.6.1350
    https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.86.6.1350 [Google Scholar]
  28. Pérez, Hernán E.
    2007 “Estudio de la variación estilística de la serie /b-d-g/ en posición intervocálica en el habla de los noticieros de la televisión chilena.” Estudios de fonética experimental161: 227–259.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Pike, Kenneth
    1945The Intonation of American English. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Puppel, Stanislaw
    2011 “Rhythm in Stress-timed and Syllable-timed Languages: Some General Considerations.” InLinguistics across Historical and Geographical Boundaries11, ed. byDieter Kastovsky and Aleksander Szwedek, 105–110. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Ramus, Franck, Marina Nespor, and Jacques Mehler
    1999 “Correlates of linguistic rhythm in the speech signal.” Cognition731: 265–292. 10.1016/S0010‑0277(99)00058‑X
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0010-0277(99)00058-X [Google Scholar]
  32. R Core Team
    R Core Team 2018R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. www.R-project.org/
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Royston, J. Patrick
    1982 “Algorithm AS 181: The W test for normality.” Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series C (Applied Statistics)31 (2): 176–180.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Valderrama, Ricardo, Hernán E. Pérez and Darío Fuentes
    2017 “Incidencia del valor pragmático en la duración de la vocal acentuada del sufijo diminutivo -ito en el español de Chile.” Boletín de filología52 (2): 223–244. 10.4067/S0718‑93032017000200223
    https://doi.org/10.4067/S0718-93032017000200223 [Google Scholar]
  35. Villasenor Alva, Jose A., and Elizabeth González Estrada
    2009 “A generalization of Shapiro–Wilk’s test for multivariate normality.” Communications in Statistics – Theory and Methods38 (11): 1870–1883. 10.1080/03610920802474465
    https://doi.org/10.1080/03610920802474465 [Google Scholar]
  36. Wagner, Claudio
    2004 “El atlas lingüístico y etnográfico de Chile. Localidades y cuestionario.” Estudios Filológicos391: 83–120
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Wells, John C.
    1997 “SAMPA computer readable phonetic alphabet.” InHandbook of Standards and Resources for Spoken Language Systems, ed. byDafydd Gibbon, Roger Moore and Richard Winski. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Part IV, section B.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. White, Laurence, and Sven L. Mattys
    2007 “Calibrating rhythm: First language and second language studies.” Journal of Phonetics35 (4): 501–522. 10.1016/j.wocn.2007.02.003
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wocn.2007.02.003 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): accent-timed; Chilean Spanish; Spanish; speech rhythm; syllable-timed; theory of isochrony
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error