lunes, 12 de noviembre de 2012

Definition of Rhythm

When  we think about rhythm, we always imagine music  what is right, too. Peter Roach give to us the exctly definition of rhythm, we can find 2 definitions by Peter Roach:



  •   Speech is perceived as a sequence of events in time, and the word     rhythm is used to refer to the way events are distributed in time. Obvious examples of vocal rhythms are chanting as part of games (for example, children calling words while skipping, or football crowds calling their team’s name) or in connection with work (e.g. sailors’ chants used to synchronise the pulling on an anchor rope). In conversational speech the rhythms are vastly more complicated, but it is clear that the timing of speech is not random. An extreme view (though a quite common one) is that English speech has a rhythm that allows us to divide it up into more or less equal intervals of time called feet, each of which begins with a stressed syllable: this is called the stress-timed rhythm hypothesis.Languages where the length of each syllable remains more or less the same as that of its neighbours whether or not it is stressed are called syllable-timed. Most evidence from the study of real speech suggests that such rhythms only exist in very careful, controlled  speaking, but it appears from psychological research that listeners’ brains tend to hear timing regularities even where there is little or no physical regularity.
     (Roach P., Glossary - A little encyclopedia of phonetics)


  •   The notion of rhythminvolves some noticiable even happin at regular intervals of time; one can  detect   the rhythm of a hear-beat, of a flishing light or of a pice of music. It has often been climbed that english speak is rhytmical, and the rhythm is detectable in the regular occurrence of stressed syllable; of course, is it not suggested that the timing is as regular as a clock - the regularity of occurrence is only relative. 
          (Roach, P., English phonetic and phonology couse, 1998)


 1.    Stressed-Timed:
The Theory that English is a Stress-Timed language, talks about that stressed syllables would occur at relatively regular intervals if they are separated by unstressed syllables or not. In another words, between each stressed syllable, we will found an unstressed syllable (Or two or more), but not in all cases.The difference with Spanish Language is that in English is not necessary to pronounce all words clearly in order to be well-understood. But Spanish is a Syllable-Timed language; this means that each syllable has the same length.So, when an english hears a sentence of English spoken by a non-native speaker, with each syllable having the same length, it takes just a little bit longer to understand the meaning.



When does the school term end?
1 2 3

''Of a language: having the stressed syllables occurring at regular intervals, irrespective of how many unstressed syllables there may be. English is predominantly stress-timed, in contrast to syllable-timed languages (such as French) in which the syllables occur at more or less regular intervals.
Thus in the sentenceˈBoth of them are ˌmine
the unstressed syllables (of them are) are compressed, with vowel weakening (/əv ðəm ə/), while the monosyllable mine takes roughly as much time as the preceding Both of them are. This does not mean that all sequences containing one stress are of absolutely equal length, but the rhythms of stress-timed and syllable-timed languages are noticeably different.''

Stress timed by oxford definition

2-       Syllabic:
 The foot is a unit of rhythm. It consists in lines that may be divided into sections based on patterns on strong and weak syllables. A foot begins with a stressed syllable and all unstressed syllables that follow it. The next foot will begin when another stressed syllable is produced, followed by any unstressed syllables as well. It's not necessary found a stressed syllable together with unstressed syllables.

          |here is the |news at |nine o |clock     

         1                 2            3            4 

 3-       Strong and weak: Patterns of stress
 This is what Peter Roach thinks about it:“Some theories of rhythm go further than this, and point to the fact that some feet are stronger than others, producing strong-weak patterns in large pieces of speech above the level of the foot. To understand how this could be done, let's start with a simple example: the word twenty has one strong and one weak syllable, forming one foot. A diagram of its rhythmical structure can be made, where s stands for strong and w stands for weak.By analyzing speech in this way we are able to show the relationships between strong and weak elements, and the different levels of stress that we find. The strength of any particular syllable can be measured by counting up the number of times an s symbol occurs above it. The above pattern may be correct for very slow speech, but we must now look at what happens to the rhythm in normal speech: Many english speakers would feel that.” 


The next theory is a modern one

Speech, as with all bodily movements such as breathing, walking, heart-beat, etc., is highly rhythmical; it tends to have a regular beat. But what marks the beat differs is various languages. Pike distinguished two kinds of rhythm in languages: (i) syllable-timed rhythm, where syllables tend to occur at regular intervals of time, and consequently all syllables tend to have the same length (e.g. Spanish and French) and  (ii) stressed-limed rhythm, where stressed syllables tend to occur at   regular intervals. 

That means that the syllables might vary in length since there might be a        varying number of syllables between stresses. English is a stress-timed    language. In the following Spanish sentence syllables have the same length and occur at regular intervals:

'Quic'ro 'que 'ven'gas 'al 'mé'di'co 'con'mi'go 'ma'ña'na

In the equivalent English sentence, syllables vary in length but stressed syllablesoccur regularly:

1 'want you to 'come with me to the 'doctor's to'morrow

In English, rhythm is organized into feet (Abercrombie 1964). The foot begins with the stressed syllable and includes all the unstressed syllables up to the next stress where a new foot begins. The above English sentence has four stresses and consequently four feet. Using slashes to indícate foot boundary we could represent feet as follows: J / 'want you to / 'come with me    to the 

/ 'doctor's to / 'morrow. The beat at the beginning of the foot might be silent, we mark this silent beat with a caret („).
No language is purely stressed-timed or syllable-timed but tends to behave morelike one or the other pattern. Delattre argües that Germán, for instance, takes a position midway between English and Spanish with respect to rhythm. Catalán seems to be a similar case. Rhythm is also tempo dependent. The faster the speech, the more stressed-timed the rhythm (Angenot et al). Thus, Spanish or Portuguese, said to be syllable-timed languages, become more stressed-timed when spoken at a fast rate, although vowels keep their distinctive quality. Thus, the following Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese sentences uttered at a fast speaking rate might result in a rhythmic pattern basically stressed-determined: 
             Claro que voy a hacer geografía
               ['kao ke {5ia'6e xora'fía]
              O que e que tu vais fazer?

The basic differences between syllable-timed languages (such as Spanish) and
stressed-timed languages (such as English) are: 

syllable-timed stressed-limed
1. wcak vowel reduction
2. simple syllable slructure
3. proportional effect of tempo
4. absence of secondary stress
5. metrical system of a syllabic type 

1. In languages such as Spanish unstressed vowels suffer a weak vowel reduction since every syllable is allotted virtually the same amount of time to be produced. In English unstressed syllables have little time to be produced in order to keep the rhythmic beat on the stressed syllables. Thus, there is a strong reduction in vowel
quality due to the undershoot phenomenon: in the short time allotted for the pronunciation of unstressed vowels the articulators do not achieve the vowel target,resulting in the centralized vowels [a, i, u].

2. The reduction and subsequent elisión of unstressed vowels have resulted in a large amount of consonant clusters and a complex syllable structure in English.

3. In English, speaking rate (fast vs slow speech) does not affect the duration of stressed and unstressed syllables proportionally. In Spanish, speaking rate effets on the duration of stressed and unstressed vowels is roughly the same.

4. Stress-timed languages tend to have secondary stress in words (or to introduce
rhythmical stresses in longer sequences) to avoid long sequences of unstressed syllables and to keep the rhythmic beat. In English no stressed syllable in a word can be preceded by more than two unstressed syllables in succession, a secondary stress is
introduced (e.g.,clarifi'catión, re,conside''radon,varia'bility). After the stressed syllable there may be up to three unstressed syllables, but only in words with certain suffixes (e.g. ad'ministrative, 'candidacy ).

5. In syllable-timed languages the syllable oceurs at roughly regular intervals of time and the syllable is the rhythmical unit in verse (thus, Spanish verse is referred to as 'octosyllable,' 'decasyllable,' etc.). In stressed-timed languages it is the stress which oceurs regularly and the metric system is based on the foot (thus, English verse is referred to as iambic, trochee, anapest, etc., which refer to different stress patterns of the foot).

Solé, María J., Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona

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