This lecture will introduce the concept of linguistic rhythm and the many controversies surrounding it. It will further show that, although a clear-cut definition of rhythm remains a challenge, the perspective offered by this concept can help us understand rhythm as a unified cognitive and social phenomenon, connecting language with music, and offering unique insights into public speaking and political charisma. This will be evidenced through a discussion of the “speech-to-song illusion” and political speeches by Donald Trump and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Tamara Rathcke is Lecturer in Linguistics at the University of Kent, UK. Before joining Kent, she researched in Glasgow, Munich, Kiel and Kaliningrad. Tamara’s interests have a focus on prosody of speech and language, linking her expertise in phonetics to psychology and music. Her recent paper ‘When Speech Sounds Like Music’ was featured in the September 2014 issue of APA PeePs (Particularly Exciting Experiments in Psychology), a collaboration between six of APA’s experimental psychology journals.