Original experimental results
The experiment for which these sentences were recorded tests the existence of domain-edge and domain-span processes at two levels of linguistic structure, the word and the utterance; the locus of accentual lengthening and its interaction with domain-edge and domain-span processes are also examined.
The abstract of English speech timing: a domain and locus approach (see DISSERTATION page) provides an overview of the complete research programme. The specific experimental hypotheses regarding these recordings are outlined in more detail on pages 130 to 137 of Chapter 4 of the dissertation. Full results and analyses are provided in later sections of Chapter 4, from page 160 to page 237.
The most important findings in this experiment (Experiment 2 in the dissertation) may be summarised thus:
- There are no domain-span processes at word level (polysyllabic
shortening) or utterance level, although there is evidence for a
sub-word level process, word-rhyme-span compression.
- The word is the locus of accentual lengthening and the variation
in distribution of accentual lengthening between monosyllables,
disyllables and trisyllables accounts for previously-observed
polysyllabic shortening: there is less lengthening of the stressed
syllables in a disyllable than in a monosyllable, and less still in
- Word-initial lengthening has a syllable onset locus; there may
be additional lengthening of the onset phrase-initially.
- There is an inverse relationship - word-rhyme-span
compression - between stressed syllable nucleus duration and
word-rhyme length; the duration of unstressed syllables shows a
similar inverse relationship with word-rhyme length. (Subsyllabic
durations are not measured for unstressed syllables, as noted in
Section 4.3.3. of the dissertation.)
- Word-initial stressed syllable onsets are, in some cases,
shorter utterance-initially than utterance-medially.
- Utterance-final lengthening affects stressed syllable codas in
penultimate and antepenultimate position, plus the following
unstressed syllable(s); in absolute-final position, the stressed
syllable nucleus and coda are lengthened. For all constituents, the
lengthening effect is greater closer to the boundary.
- There is some evidence of compensatory shortening in segments near to the loci of domain-edge lengthening processes.
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