Prosodic Modifications of the Internal Phonetic Structure of Monosyllabic CVC Words in Conversational Speech

  • Received : 2013.02.02
  • Accepted : 2013.03.21
  • Published : 2013.03.31


Previous laboratory studies have shown that prosodic structures are encoded in the modulations of phonetic patterns of speech including suprasegmental as well as segmental features. In particular, effects of prosodic context on duration and intensity of syllables and words have been widely reported. Drawing on prosodically annotated large-scale speech data from the Buckeye corpus of conversational speech of American English, the current study attempted to examine whether and how prosodic prominence and phrase boundary of everyday conversational speech, as determined by a large group of ordinary listeners, are related to the phonetic realization of duration and intensity. The results showed that the patterns of word durations and intensities are influenced by prosodic structure. Closer examinations revealed, however, that the effects of prosodic prominence are not the same as those of prosodic phrase boundary. With regard to intensity measures, the results revealed the systematic changes in the patterns of overall RMS intensity near prosodic phrase boundary but the prominence effects are restricted to the nucleus. In terms of duration measures, both prosodic prominence and phrase boundary are the most closely related to the lengthening of the nucleus. Yet, prosodic prominence is more closely related to the lengthening of the onset while phrase boundary lengthens the coda duration more. The findings from the current study suggest that the phonetic realizations of prosodic prominence are different from those of prosodic phrase boundary, and speakers signal different prosodic structures through deliberate modulations of the internal phonetic structure of words and listeners attend to such phonetic variations.



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