It is well known that listeners can ignore disturbances in speech and rely on context to interpolate the message. This fact is used to determine the importance of individual words for projecting Transition Relevance Places, TRPs. Subjects were asked to shadow manipulated pre-recorded dialogs with minimal responses, saying ‘ah’ when they feel it is appropriate. In these dialogs, at random, of each utterance, either one of the last four words was replaced by white noise (masked condition), or no word was replaced (non masked condition). The reaction times were analyzed for effects of masked words. The presence of masked words, even prominent words, did not affect the response times of our subjects unless the very last word of the utterance was masked. This indicates that listeners are able to seamlessly interpolate the missing words and only need the identity of the last word to determine the exact position of the TRP.
Bibliographic reference. Wesseling, Wieneke / Son, R. J. J. H. van / Pols, Louis C. W. (2007): "The influence of masking words on the prediction of TRPs in a shadowed dialog", In INTERSPEECH-2007, 1254-1257.