Perception and Production
Do Danes speak more quickly than Swedes? (Anja Schüppert & Nanna Haug Hilton)
Do Danes speak more quickly than Swedes? Anja Schüppert & Nanna Haug Hilton Abstract Within Scandinavia, communication across language borders often takes place in the native languages of the involved speakers. The East Scandinavian languages Danish and Swedish are closely related and thus mutually intelligible to a certain degree. However, mutual intelligibility between speakers of Danish and Swedish has been shown to be asymmetric in such a way that Danes generally decode more spoken Swe- dish items than vice versa. As there is extensive evidence that articulation rate affects intelligibility for na- tive speakers, we assume that even cross-linguistically, higher articulation rate is asso- ciated with lower intelligibility, and hypothesise that Danish is spoken at a faster rate than Swedish. We test this hypothesis by investigating phonetic articulation rate (the number of phonetic syllables produced per second) and lexical articulation rate (the number of words produced per second) in two corpora of spoken Danish and Swedish that can be assumed to be intelligible to most L1 speakers of the two speech communi- ties: news broadcasts. Our results show that Danish- and Swedish-speaking news readers produce the same number of phonetic syllables per second, while Danish-speaking news readers produce significantly more words per second than their Swedish-speaking colleagues. 1. Introduction Danish and Swedish are closely related languages belonging to the East Scandinavian branch of the North Germanic language family. As Tang & Van Heuven (2009) point out, closely related languages usually share a substantial number of cognate words. Within this set of...
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