In summary, from this limited sample, we conclude these languages are spoken at different rates, but their communication efficiency is the same. It seems unlikely that languages are different in terms of communication efficiency. Pelligrino et al reached the same conclusion using a different index, i.e. â€śInformation Density.â€ť
*NOTE: The above rates in our study were counted by the first author. Subsequently, a native Arabic speaker did a separate syllable count, and found there was no difference in the rates for Tamil and Arabic. This underscores the importance of having native speakers compute SPS for their language. The values in the above table are from the Arabic speaker. We thank Fadi Najem for these data.
Pellegrino, F., Farinas, J., & Rouas, J-L (2004). Automatic Estimation of Speaking Rate in Multilingual Spontaneous Speech. Speech Prosody. Nara, Japan
Pellegrino, F, Coupe, C., & Marisco, (2007). An information theory-based approach to the balance of complexity between phonetics, phonology and morphosyntax. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, Anaheim, CA.
Pelligrino et al, 2011. A cross-language perspective on speech. Language 87(3): 539-558).
Robb, M., Maclagan, M., & Chen, Y. (2003). Speaking rates of American and New
Zealand varieties of English. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics 17: 1-15.
Results of the analysis identified significantly faster overall speaking rate and articulation rate for the NZE group compared to the AE group.