Sociolinguistic Studies, Vol 12, No 3-4 (2018)

Lack of effects of gender on the reading rate of long texts

Łukasz Stolarski
Issued Date: 2 May 2019


Among various linguistic and extralinguistic factors which may affect speech tempo, the gender of the speaker has received considerable attention. In a number of publications it has been reported that women tend to read at a slower rate than men. However, other studies cast doubt on these findings and the issue needs further investigation. This paper attempts to compare the reading rate of male and female speakers of English on the basis of selected chapters from audiobooks. The recordings analysed are considerably longer than the samples used in previous research. The rate of speech has been measured using phonemes per second, syllables per second and words per second. The results consistently indicate that gender does not affect reading tempo. They are directly applicable in text-to-speech (TTS) software development and may be useful in other disciplines, such as forensic linguistics, clinical linguistics or education.

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DOI: 10.1558/sols.32924


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