Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

J. E. Wallace Wallin, 
Triplett and Sanford,1 using apparatus similar to that of Brücke, 
Hürst and McKay and Meyer, have measured eleven nursery rhymes of 
long, common and short meter, scanned by themselves eight or ten times 
with great regularity, and have studied without apparatus, the patterns 
adopted. A finger record of taps, a vocal record representing breath 
puffs, and a time line, made by an interrupter checking off tenths of a 
second, were traced on the kymograph. The voice record was used for 
comparing the exactness of the correspondence between the finger taps 
and the expiratory stresses. The intervals between the finger taps were 
The following conclusions were reached : ( i ) If the pause intervals be¬ 
tween the larger rhythmic units are excluded, the measures of scanned 
nursery rhymes are approximately uniform. (2) There is a tendency to 
accelerate the speed of scanning the successive measures in the verse 
as well as the successive verses themselves. (3) No characteristic differ¬ 
ences of speed are found between dactylic and trochaic, anapestic and 
iambic measures. This is contrary to the results of previous experi¬ 
menters. (4) The most frequent patterns of verse have a characteristic 
movement, due partly to the distribution of the pauses and the tendency 
to increase the speed. 
This cursory review of previously existing methods of experimentally 
investigating the time relations in speech illustrates and enforces the 
necessity of improved methods of speech investigation. Two types of 
methods may be used. The former is largely the method which has pre¬ 
vailed up to the present time. The sounds of spoken language have 
been measured by means of finger beats, currents of air and non-repro¬ 
ducible sound vibrations. A more direct method consists in measuring 
directly the sounds recorded in, and reproduced by a talking machine. 
This method has the following advantages : 
1. The instantaneous action of the recording stylus of the modern 
talking machines practically eliminates the errors of the “latent time’’ 
of the apparatus and the recording of superfluous and irrelevant move¬ 
2. It is the only method by which the accuracy of the recorded im¬ 
pressions can be completely verified, since it alone affords the means of 
reproducing the sounds that have been recorded. The accuracy of the 
impressions recorded upon instruments of the non-reproducing kind, 
must always remain more or less conjectural. 
1 Triplett and Sanford, Studies of rhythm and meter, Am. Jour. Psych., 1901 
XII 361.


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