ASA 127th Meeting M.I.T. 1994 June 6-10

4pSP36. Effects of speaking rate and paragraph structure on the production of sentence prosody.

Shari R. Speer

Psychol. Dept., Northeastern Univ., 360 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02115

Sarah C. Wayl

Univ. Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201-1595

Margaret M. Kjelgaard

Northeastern Univ., Boston, MA 02115

Arthur Wingfield

Brandeis Univ., Waltham, MA 02254

Four speakers read each of eight paragraphs at four different speaking rates: Normal speaking rate and half, twice, and three times the normal rate. Each paragraph contained five sentences, one each of five types of syntactic structure: Early major syntactic break, early minor syntactic break, late major syntactic break, late minor syntactic break, or syntactic break midway through the sentence. Across paragraphs, sentences of the same syntactic type had the same prosodic foot structure, and the order of syntactic structures within paragraphs was counterbalanced. Care was also taken to make the paragraphs semantically coherent. Phonetic analyses of the prosodic structures produced for these paragraphs are presented, including absolute and relative duration measures for words and silences. In addition, listener judgments of perceived prosodic phrasing are presented. Results will be compared to the durational and pausing patterns predicted by current prosodic production algorithms (Ferreira, 1993; Gee and Grosjean, 1983). Prosodic variation due to speaking rate, syntactic structure, and paragraph structure will be discussed. [Order of authorship determined by multiple coin flips.]