This study explored the temporal patterns in oral reading and spontaneous speech of Mandarin Chinese. Read speech was collected from eight adult speakers of Mandarin by asking them to read three texts (a classical poem, a modern poem, and a modern essay) and spontaneous speech was collected from the same subjects in an informal interview. Eight temporal variables were analyzed-syllable duration, pause duration, pause proportion, utterance length,articulation and speech time, and articulation and speech rates. We hypothesized that different types of texts would trigger different temporal patterns and that oral reading and spontaneous speech are very different on the basis of the temporal variables investigated. Our findings are summarized as follows.1. Text type had a clear effect on syllable duration; it was 335 ms in classical poetry, 277 ms in modern poetry, 252 ms in modern poetry, and 208 ms in spontaneous speech.2. Text differences also affected the other temporal variables to a significant degree. Mean pause time was longer in both classical and modern poetry (555 ms and 558 ms) than in modern prose (479 ms) and spontaneous speech (491 ms). Also, articulation time was longest in classical poetry (2187ms), and yet shortest in spontaneous speech (1145 ms). These two variables directly affected the results of articulation and speech rates, both of which were slower in reading than in spontaneous speech.3. Finally, oral reading and spontaneous speech demand rather different processes in production, as evidenced from the temporal patterns observed.Similarly, poetry reading and prose reading also demand different processes.