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It has been seen that cross linguistically certain languages are rightly perceived as faster than others. On the other hand, in a given language one variety may be faster than the other in terms of syllable per second and similar measures. Apart from the rate of speaking, the perceived temporal differences in a language can also be prompted by rhythmic differences popularly cited as the difference between a ’machine-gun firing type’ and a ’Morse-code type’ language. This paper analyzes the acoustic correlates of rhythm and speech rate in two varieties of Assamese viz. Jorhat and Nalbari and if these measures can distinguish two varieties of the language. Native speakers of Assamese have reported to perceive differences between the two varieties in terms of ’speed’. Hence, in this study the two varieties are analysed for speaking rate and rhythm in conversational speech and read speech. For speaking rate the measures calculated are syllable per second and segments per second. For rhythm the measures are %V, Delta-V, Delta-C, nPVI-V, Varco Delta-V and Varco Delta-C. The results confirm that in terms of speaking rate the two varieties are significantly different in spontaneous speech. However, read speech does not show any speaking rate difference. Similarly out of 6 measures of rhythm, all except %V show significant dialectal differences.
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