The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Ling-Lunch 5/16 - Aniruddh D. Patel

Speaker: Aniruddh D. Patel (Dept of Psychology, Tufts)
Title: Speech-music rhythmic relations: empirical studies
Date/Time: Thursday, May 16, 12:30-1:45p
Location: 32-D461

Rhythm is widely acknowledged to be an important aspect of speech and music, and theoretical work on rhythm within each domain has long expressed interest in possible connections with the other domain. Yet empirical studies comparing rhythm in speech and music are rare. In this talk I will argue that the paucity of research reflects a fixation on periodic rhythms in human auditory cognition, and that meaningful connections between linguistic and musical rhythm are more likely to be found in the domain of nonperiodic rhythms, i.e., in systematic patterns of timing, accent, and grouping which have nothing to do with periodicity. Two lines of cross-cultural empirical research will be used to support this argument, one concerning differences in how Americans vs. Japanese listeners hear simple nonlinguistic rhythms, and one concerning reflections of speech rhythm in instrumental classical music.