The role of syntactic structure in guiding prosody perception with ordinary listeners and everyday speech

Jennifer Cole*, Yoonsook Mo, Soondo Baek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations

Abstract

The relationship between syntactic and prosodic phrase structures is investigated in the production and perception of spontaneous speech. Three hypotheses are tested: (1) syntax influences prosody production; (2) listeners' perception of prosodic boundaries is sensitive to acoustic duration; and (3) syntax directly influences boundary perception, (partly) independent of the acoustic evidence for boundaries. Data are from the Buckeye corpus of conversational speech, and the real-time prosodic transcription of those data by 97 untrained listeners. Inter-transcriber agreement codes boundary strength at word junctures, and Boundary scores are shown to be correlated with both the syntactic context and vowel duration of a word. Vowel duration is also correlated with syntactic context, but the effect of syntactic context on boundary perception is not fully explained by vowel duration. Regression analyses show that syntactic clause boundaries and vowel duration are the first and second strongest predictors of boundary perception in spontaneous speech.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1141-1177
Number of pages37
JournalLanguage and Cognitive Processes
Volume25
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 15 2010

Keywords

  • Prosody perception
  • Prosody production
  • Prosody transcription
  • Spontaneous speech
  • Syntax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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