Publication details [#57279]

Stepanova, Svetlana. 2013. Speech rate as reflection of speaker’s social characteristics. In Thielemann, Nadine and Peter Kosta, eds. Approaches to Slavic Interaction. (Dialogue Studies 20). John Benjamins. pp. 117–129.
Publication type
Article in book
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins


This paper presents an analysis of speech rate in spontaneous conversations between Russian interlocutors conducted on the basis of recordings of 40 speakers and their interlocutors collected in the Speech Corpus of Russian Everyday Communication “One Day of Speech” (ORD corpus). The results allow us to compare the speech rate between speakers of different mother tongues using data drawn from other researchers’ work. For example, Russians speak on average faster than Norwegians, but considerably slower than Spaniards and Brazilians.The impact of different factors on the rate of speech is illustrated by the following findings: 1. There is a statistically valid difference between men’s (m) and women’s (f) speech rate: men speak substantially (from the statistical perspective) faster than women. 2. With age we start speaking more slowly. 3. Informants whose level of verbal competence was assessed at a high level by experts speak more slowly, while an articulation rate higher than the average is typical of speakers with a lower level of verbal competence. 4. Furthermore, it is observed that the speech rate is dependent in a statistically significant way on the number of syllables of the utterance: the longer the phrase, the faster the rate.