ASA 127th Meeting M.I.T. 1994 June 6-10

3pSP19. What explains habitual speaking rate?---Neuromuscular constraints and sociolinguistic consideration.

Ying-Chiao Tsao

Dept. of Commun. Disord., Univ. of Wisconsin---Madison, 1975 Willow Dr., Madison, WI 53706

Gary Weismer

Univ. of Wisconsin---Madison, Madison, WI 53706

Neuromuscular and sociolinguistic hypotheses were proposed to explore and account for the nature of individuals' idiosyncratic speech rates. In the study, four speech tasks including a script reading, a paragraph production, an isolated sentence production, and five sentences with varying lengths were performed at both habitual and maximum rates by 50 male and 50 female adults. A faster and a slower groups of talkers were selected for both genders based on their script reading times in the distribution of overall speaking rates. The average articulation rates for both sexes were then calculated, respectively, from both groups of talkers. Although the slow talkers increased their rates from habitual to maximum to a greater degree than the fast talkers, their maximum rates fell well short of the maximum rates of the fast talkers. Fast talkers may have changed their rates less dramatically across the rate conditions because their habitual rates were already close to maximum rates. These findings were true for both genders and suggested that neuromuscular constraints yield the crucial contribution to the control of individuals' speech rates. [Work supported by UW---Madison Speech Acoustic Laboratory.]