Stability of temporal contrasts across speaking styles in English and Croatian

Rajka Smiljanic*, Ann R. Bradlow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


In this paper, we investigate the effect of clear speech, a distinct, listener-oriented, intelligibility-enhancing mode of speech production, on vowel and stop consonant contrasts along the temporal dimension in English and Croatian. Our previous work has shown that, in addition to enhancing the overall acoustic salience of the speech signal through a decrease in speaking rate and expansion of pitch range, clear speech modifications increased the spectral distances between vowel categories in both languages despite the different sizes of their vowel inventories (+10 in English, five in Croatian). Here, we examine how clear speech affects the duration of English tense (long) vs. lax (short) vowels, English vowels preceding voiced (long) vs. voiceless (short) coda stops, Croatian long vs. short vowels and Croatian and English voice onset time (VOT) duration for voiced and voiceless stops. Overall, the results showed that the proportional distance between the 'short' and 'long' vowel categories and between the voiced and voiceless stop categories was remarkably stable across the two speaking styles in both languages. These results suggest that, in combination with the spectral enhancement of vowel contrasts, language-specific pronunciation norms along the temporal dimension are maintained in clear and conversational speech.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-113
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Phonetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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