Speaking speed

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The speech rate describes the speed of the speech of a person. Speech speed is a measure of the speed of speech. Generally speaking, speed is a performance parameter and indicates a defined change in time. The number of words per minute (W / min.) Is measured here. For a German speaker, a value between 90 and 120 words per minute is in the reference range. The speed of speaking is related to the articulation . If a speaker expresses himself at an appropriate speed, he is usually better understood. It varies depending on the mood but also on the language skills of the person speaking.


The speed of speech is relevant for successful communication . It also affects the message the speaker wants to convey. If the speaker speaks too quickly, misunderstandings and even unsuccessful communication can occur. If the speaker speaks too slowly, the recipient can react bored and communication also fails.

The speed of speech is one aspect of paraverbal communication . But it is also to a certain extent the interface between the organ of articulation on the one hand, neurophonetics , neurolinguistics, i.e. language processing in the broadest sense, and that of language itself on the other .

When preparing z. B. of sermons , their expected duration is an important aspect. According to Franz Graf-Stuhlhofer , 120 words spoken aloud correspond to one minute. If you formulate your sermon verbatim during preparation, you can use a word processing program to estimate the likely duration of the sermon and, if necessary, change it - by shortening or expanding it. Of course, this applies not only to sermons, but also to lectures or speeches. A study of free church sermons revealed different speaking speeds, from about 100 words to 160 words per minute, on average a little more than 120 words.

Measurement of the speech rate

The speed of speech can be indicated by the number of words spoken within a minute. Instead of words, however, various other linguistic units such as sounds , syllables or morphemes can be measured per second or minute. High speech speeds are therefore mainly accompanied by above-average word, syllable and phonetic rates (language products per unit of time), and low speech speeds are more likely to be accompanied by below-average rates. In linguistics , the phone - the smallest distinguishable "sound unit in the sound continuum" - is a minimal sound segment that is still perceived as independent.

Both the syllable and phonetic rates can be measured fairly accurately using electronic digital methods for examining the phonetic purposes. However, since no procedure can determine all the indications of syllables and phone hidden in a speech signal or a sentence, a certain proportion of errors is inevitable.

You have to consider, however, that the syllable and phonetic rates only correlate moderately with one another. Every word is made up of syllables in different ways , the phonetic structures of which in turn vary in complexity . This results in a ratio between syllable and phonetic rates that varies from word to word.

In general, according to Scherz-Schade, speech speed can be determined by five factors:

  • Articulation speed: is calculated from the number of syllables per unit of time between the articulation pauses. In other words, the articulation pauses are not included. This number can also give an indication of the articulation accuracy or the speed of movement of the articulators.
  • Pause duration: indicates the time between two articulatory phrases.
  • Speaking speed: is calculated from the number of syllables per total speaking time: the pause time between two articulation units is also included here. This number thus includes the articulation speed and the pause duration.
  • Articulatory phrase length: indicates the number of syllables between two pauses. This number directly affects the speed of articulation because short articulatory phrases are articulated more slowly than longer phrases. This number is often related to the complexity of the content of the spoken text.
  • Break time percentage: indicates the percentage ratio of break time to total talk time.


Web links

Wiktionary: Speech speed  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Speech speed  - explanations of meanings, word origins , synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Speech speed  - explanations of meanings, word origins , synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Speech speed  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Single receipts

  1. ^ Franz Graf-Stuhlhofer: Basis preach. Basics of the Christian faith in sermons, plus a didactic homiletics for advanced students . VTR, Nuremberg 2010, p. 195.
  2. Christian Bensel: Linguistic Notes on Sermons in the “Free Churches in Austria”. In: Christian Bensel, Jonathan Mauerhofer (ed.): Sermon between claim and reality. VTR, Nuremberg 2016, pp. 14–33, there 19.
  3. Ulrike Franke, H. Lorenzen: Logopädisches Handlexikon. Reinhardt, Munich / Basel 1978, article: Sprechtempo. ISBN 3-497-00787-0 .
  4. Phon also: loud , linguistic loudness
  5. Michael Dürr, Peter Schlobinski: Descriptive Linguistics. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2006, ISBN 3-5252-6518-2 , p. 299.
  6. ^ HR Pfitzinger: Two approaches to speech rate estimation. Proceedings of the Sixth Australian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology, Adelaide 1996, pp. 421-426
  7. ^ [1] Sven Scherz-Schade: German Radio News. The change in their use of language 1932 - 2001. Berlin 2004.