AUC Philologica (Acta Universitatis Carolinae Philologica) is an academic journal published by Charles University. It publishes scholarly articles in a large number of disciplines (English, German, Greek and Latin, Oriental, Romance and Slavonic studies, as well as in phonetics and translation studies), both on linguistic and on literary and cultural topics. Apart from articles it publishes reviews of new academic books or special issues of academic journals.

The journal is indexed in CEEOL, DOAJ, EBSCO, and ERIH PLUS.

AUC PHILOLOGICA, Vol 2019 No 2 (2019), 97–108

The relations between phonotactics and speech rhythm in Czech

[The relations between phonotactics and speech rhythm in Czech]

Eliška Churaňová

published online: 18. 10. 2019


The main objective of this study is to explore the relationships between the phonotactic structure of the Czech stress-group and rhythm of speech. Three most frequent consonantal-vocalic (CV) structures of Czech two-syllable stress-groups were selected for the purpose of this study: CVCV, CVCCV, and CCVCV. In an auditory experiment, which contained the mutual comparison of stress-groups or the comparison of a stress-group and a low-frequency shadow of a stress-group, the respondents established how similar the rhythmic pattern of each couple of stress-groups sounded. The results indicate that the position of a consonantal cluster within the stress-group is the strongest phonotactic factor in perception of the rhythmic similarity. The number of consonants within a consonantal cluster and the presence of a long vowel in both stress-groups are considered weaker factors for perceiving the rhythmic similarity by the respondents. Possibilities for a follow-up research are proposed for the factors that did not reach statistical significance, i.e., the difference in sonority or voicing of consonants.

keywords: speech rhythm; stress-group; phonotactics; consonantal-vocalic structure; Czech

references (30)

1. Abercrombie, D. (1967). Elements of general phonetics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

2. Boersma, P. & Weenink, D. (2018). Praat: doing phonetics by computer [computer program], version 6.0.30. Retrieved from

3. Borovičková, B. & Maláč, M. (1967). The Spectral Analysis of Czech Sound Combinations. Prague: Academia.

4. Brigner, W. L. (1988). Perceived duration as a function of pitch. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 1988, 67, 301-302. CrossRef

5. Castleman, W. A. & Diehl, R. L. (1996). Effects of fundamental frequency on medial and final [voice] judgments. Journal of Phonetics, 24(4), 383-398. CrossRef

6. Cumming, R. (2011). The effect of dynamic fundamental frequency on the perception of duration. Journal of Phonetics, 39, 375-387. CrossRef

7. Dankovičová, J. & Dellwo, V. (2007). Czech speech rhythm and the rhythm class hypothesis. In: Proceedings of the XVIth ICPhS, 1241-1244. Saarbrücken: Organizing Committee.

8. Dauer, R. (1983). Stress-timing and syllable-timing reanalyzed. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 11, 51-62.

9. Dawson, C., Aalto, D., Šimko, J. & Vainio, M. (2017). The influence of fundamental frequency on perceived duration in spectrally comparable sounds. PeerJ, 5. CrossRef

10. Donovan, A. & Darwin, C. J. (1979). The perceived rhythm of speech. In: Fischer-Jørgensen, E. et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of IXth ICPhS, 268-274. Copenhagen: University of Copenhagen.

11. Fletcher, J. (2010). The Prosody of Speech: Timing and Rhythm. In: Hardcastle, W., Laver, J. & Gibbon, F. (Eds.), The Handbook of Phonetic Sciences, 523-602. United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing. CrossRef

12. Grabe, E. & Low, E. L. (2002). Durational variability in speech and the rhythm class hypothesis. In: Warner, N. & Gussenhoven, C. (Eds.), Papers in laboratory phonology 7, 515-546. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. CrossRef

13. Grossberg, S. (2003). Resonant neural dynamics of speech perception. Journal of Phonetics, 31(3-4), 423-445. CrossRef

14. Hogan, J. T. & Rozsypal, A. J. (1980). Evaluation of vowel duration as a cue for the voicing distinction in the following word-final consonant. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 67, 1764-1771. CrossRef

15. Churaňová, E. (2012). Fonotaktická osnova českého slova a mluvního taktu. Master's thesis. Prague: Charles University.

16. Churaňová, E. (2013). The consonantal-vocalic structure of the Czech word and stress group. AUC Philologica 1/2014, Phonetica Pragensia XIII, 79-90.

17. Kelso, J. A. (1995). Dynamic Patterns: The Self-Organization of Brain and Behavior. Cambridge: MIT Press.

18. Kent, R. D. & Read, C. (2002). The acoustic analysis of speech. Australia: Singular/Thomson Learning.

19. Lehiste, I. (1977). Isochrony reconsidered. Journal of Phonetics, 5, 253-263.

20. Lehiste, I. (1979). Temporal relations within speech units. In: Fischer-Jørgensen, E. et al. (Eds.). Proceedings of IXth ICPhS, 241-244. Copenhagen: University of Copenhagen.

21. Machač, P. (2006). Temporální a spektrální struktura českých explozív. PhD thesis. Prague: Charles University.

22. Morton, J., Marcus, M. & Frankish, C. (1976). Perceptual centres (P-centres). Psychological Review, 83, 405-408. CrossRef

23. Palková, Z. (1994). Fonetika a fonologie češtiny. Prague: Karolinum.

24. Pike, K. L. (1945). The intonation of American English. University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor.

25. Pollák, P., Volín, J. & Skarnitzl, R. (2007). HMM-Based Phonetic Segmentation in Praat Environment. In: Proceedings of the XIIth International Conference "Speech and computer - SPECOM 2007", 537-541.

26. Ramus, F., Nespor, M. & Mehler, J. (1999). Correlates of linguistic rhythm in the speech signal. Cognition, 73(3), 265-292. CrossRef

27. Repp, B. H. (2005). Sensorimotor synchronization: A review of the tapping literature. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 12(6), 969-992. CrossRef

28. Skarnitzl, R. (2010). Prague Phonetic Corpus: status report. AUC Philologica 1/2009, Phonetica Pragensia XII, 65-67.

29. Šimko, J., Aalto, D., Lippus, P., Włodarczak, M. & Vainio, M. (2015). Pitch, perceived duration and auditory biases: comparison among languages. In: Proceedings of the 18th ICPhS. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.

30. Šturm, P. & Volín, J. (2016). P-centres in natural disyllabic Czech words in a large-scale speech-metronome synchronization experiment. Journal of Phonetics, 55, 38-52. CrossRef

Creative Commons License
The relations between phonotactics and speech rhythm in Czech is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

periodicity: 4 x per year
print price: 150 czk
ISSN: 0567-8269
E-ISSN: 2464-6830