Temporal organization of English clear and conversational speech

Rajka Smiljanić*, Ann R. Bradlow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


This study investigated the effect of hyperarticulated, intelligibility-enhancing clear speech on temporal characteristics as reflected in number, durations, and variability of consonant and vowel intervals in sentence- and paragraph-length utterances. The results of sentence-in-noise listening tests showed a consistent clear speech intelligibility gain across the utterances of varying complexity indicating that the talkers successfully maintained clear speech articulatory modifications throughout longer stretches of speech. The acoustic analysis revealed that some temporal restructuring accompanied changes in speaking style. This temporal restructuring was observed in the insertion of consonant and vowel segments that were dropped or coarticulated in conversational speech and in an increase in the number of prosodic phrases for clear speech. Importantly, coefficients of variation (variation of consonantal and vocalic intervals normalized for changes in speaking rate) for both consonantal and vowel intervals remained stable in the two speaking styles. Overall, these results suggest that increased intelligibility of clear speech may be attributed to prosodic structure enhancement (increased phrasing and enhanced segmentability) and stable global temporal properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3171-3182
Number of pages12
Journaljournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

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