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A student asked why English and French have different rhythms. luckily, I had an answer on hand:

  • English is a stressed-timed language - rhythmic beats align with stressed syllables
  • French is a syllable-timed language - rhythmic beats do not align with stress syllables, syllables have a similar length

The student left, apparently happy, but I don't feel like I adequately explained the phenomena. Maybe some sort of visualization would help. Is there a graphical representation that exemplifies the different between stressed-timed and syllable-timed languages?

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