Speech rate varies with sentence length in typically developing children

Meghan Darling-White, Symone Whitney Banks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: The primary purpose of this study was to examine the effect of sentence length on speech rate and its characteristics, articulation rate and pauses, in typically developing children. Method: Sixty-two typically developing children between the ages of 10 and 14 years repeated sentences varying in length from two to seven words. Dependent variables included speech rate (syllables per second), articulation rate (syllables per second), and proportion of time spent pausing. Results: Speech rate and articulation rate significantly increased with increases in sentence length, but proportion of time spent pausing did not increase with sentence length. There were no significant main effects of age. Conclusions: This is the first study to suggest that sentence length differentially impacts the component parts of speech rate, articulation rate and pause time. Increases in sentence length led to increases in speech rate, primarily due to increases in articulation rate and not increases in pause time. Articulation rate appears to be highly sensitive to the impact of sentence length, while a higher cognitive–linguistic load may be required to see sentence length effects on pause time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2385-2391
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number6s
StatePublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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