Duration is an important feature both to achieve high-quality synthesis and as a marker of phrasal organization in speech. In this study, we investigate pauses and durational patterns in English and Mandarin spontaneous conversation, as well as how reliably such elements can serve as boundary-marking predictors cross-linguistically. Results show that pause duration is significantly correlated with specific boundary status and that syllable duration is inversely correlated with distance to phrase end in both English and Chinese. Our findings support the view that duration features are highly consistent and that it is useful to integrate such knowledge to enhance performance in interactive systems.
Bibliographic reference. Yang, Li-chiung (2007): "Duration and pauses as boundary-markers in speech: a cross-linguistic study", In INTERSPEECH-2007, 458-461.