A corpus-based study of speech fluency across English dialects
Thesis DisciplineSpeech and Language Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
The main purpose of the current study was to investigate whether differences in speech fluency exist across three English dialects. The study consisted of a total number of 128 participants including 40 American English, 28 British English and 60 New Zealand English speakers. For each participant, 600 words of a conversation sample were selected to analyze the rate characteristics and frequency of disfluencies. Rate metrics included both articulation and speech rate and disfluency metrics included stuttering-like and normal disfluencies. The relationship between rate and disfluencies was also tested. Results indicated that articulation rate was significantly different between New Zealand and British English with an average of 318spm (SD=0.9) and 293spm (SD=0.59) respectively and frequency of normal disfluencies was significantly different between British and American English with an average of 7.74 (SD=3.38) and 10.29 (SD=4.59) respectively. There was also a significant relationship between rate and stuttering-like disfluencies suggesting that clinicians may have to be mindful that measures of speech rate may be influenced by the presence of more disfluencies. Findings from this study provide information on rate and disfluency characteristics in people who do not stutter across dialects for clinical practice.