This study examines variables influencing vowel duration of French spoken in Windsor, Ontario, in order to see whether their respective effects on vowel duration are organised hierarchically. We first consider the data distribution of four female speakers before carrying out a statistical principal components analysis. Our results show that the variables are classified into three underlying factors: syllable structure, syllable position and vowel properties. This last factor group includes the factors phonological vowel class and diphthong status, and always explains the majority of the variability in vowel duration. Syllable position also accounts for some of this variation in certain cases. The consistent hierarchy of these factors across the statistical analyses confirms that a vowel's properties are the most important in determining its duration, followed first by the syllable's position in the utterance, and second by the syllabic structure.
Bibliographic reference. Williams, Darcie / Poiré, François (2007): "Predicting vowel duration in spontaneous canadian French speech", In INTERSPEECH-2007, 1018-1021.