White Space = Silence ?

I was interested by something I learnt from the Grey Matters:Understanding Language lecture that the reason why learning a new language can be so hard to understand and differentiate between words when it is spoken is because of the difference between white space between the words when it is written and the non existent silence that you presume is present when it is spoken.

I was keen to try it out for myself, here is the sound wave of a recorded sentence:

Question: By looking at the image can you decipher where one word might start and end? Is there a clear silence or evident ‘white space’ between words?

Answer: It’s tricky. No.

The phrase spoken was:

“Where are the spaces between the words in this sentence.”

Is it any easier now?

Below is an image that shows the truth:

It is surprising no? I would never have guessed that. There are silences/ between letters in words and not between words themselves.

I was curious to see how consistent it might be, below is a second recording of the same sentence but spoken by a different person:

Think you can work out from your experience with the previous example where the words being and end?

Below is its corresponding image showing the divides:

It was harder to do than I thought, deciding where in the sound when listening and seeing it that one word really did end and the next one start, they tended to blend together.  I was surprised by the results and how different they both were.

Not sure quite how I can take this further or explore it more but I do find it very interesting…

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White Space = Silence ?

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