Sixth International Conference on Spoken Language Processing
(ICSLP 2000)

Beijing, China
October 16-20, 2000

Stochastic Suprasegmentals: Relationships Between Redundancy, Prosodic Structure and Care of Articulation in Spontaneous Speech

Matthew Aylett

Department of Linguistics, University of Edinburgh, UK

Within spontaneous speech there are wide variations in the articulation of the same word by the same speaker. This paper explores two related factors which influence variation in articulation, prosodic structure and redundancy. We argue that the constraint of producing robust communication while efficiently expending articulatory effort leads to an inverse relationship between language redundancy and care of articulation. The inverse relationship improves robustness by spreading the information more evenly across the speech signal leading to a smoother signal redundancy profile. We argue that prosodic prominence is a linguistic means of achieving smooth signal redundancy. Prosodic prominence increases care of articulation and coincides with unpredictable sections of speech. By doing so, prosodic prominence leads to a smoother signal redundancy. Results confirm the strong relationship between prosodic prominence and care of articulation as well as an inverse relationship between language redundancy and care of articulation. In addition, when variation in prosodic boundaries is controlled for, language redundancy can predict up to 65% of the variance in raw syllabic duration. This is comparable with 64% predicted by prosodic prominence (accent, lexical stress and vowel type). Moreover most (62%) of this predictive power is shared. This suggests that, in English, prosodic structure is the means with which constraints caused by a robust signal requirement are expressed in spontaneous speech.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Aylett, Matthew (2000): "Stochastic suprasegmentals: relationships between redundancy, prosodic structure and care of articulation in spontaneous speech", In ICSLP-2000, vol.3, 646-649.