Aims: This study aimed to establish norms on speech rates for Irish adults, and to investigate difference in speech rate between men and women in different speech tasks. The findings are important for diagnosing speech rate problems often observed in stuttering, hearing impairment, or motor speech disorders.
Methods: The speakers were 22 normal men and 22 normal women (age from 18-24 years) from south-east Ireland. They read aloud a standard passage and engaged in a 3-5 minute conversation with the second author. The speaking rate and articulation rate were measured for each speaker for each speech task. Speaking rate was obtained by dividing the number of syllables produced in a speech sample by the time needed to complete the sample. Articulation rate was measured similarly with all silent intervals removed. Unit of measurement is syllables per minute (spm).
Results: Preliminary results showed that the males had slightly faster speaking (293 spm) and articulation rates (341 spm) than the females (281 spm and 323 spm respectively). Irish-English speakers showed faster speaking rate than New Zealand English speakers but both groups had comparable articulation rate. The speaking rate was slower in conversation than in passage reading but articulation rates were similar for both tasks.
Conclusions: Irish-English speakers were faster in speaking rate than New Zealand English speakers, who were previously reported to have the highest speech rate, followed by speakers of British English, American English, and Australian English. Norms for different speech tasks and gender groups are necessary.