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The effect of speech situation on the occurrence of reduced word pronunciation variants

Ernestus, M., Hanique, I., & Verboom, E. (2015). The effect of speech situation on the occurrence of reduced word pronunciation variants. Journal of Phonetics, 48, 60-75. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2014.08.001.
This article presents two studies investigating how the situation in which speech is uttered affects the frequency with which words are reduced. Study 1 is based on the Spoken Dutch Corpus, which consists of 15 components, nearly all representing a different speech situation. This study shows that the components differ in how often ten semantically weak words are highly reduced. The differences are especially large between the components with scripted and unscripted speech. Within the component group of unscripted speech, the formality of the situation shows an effect. Study 2 investigated segment reduction in a shadowing experiment in which participants repeated Dutch carefully and casually articulated sentences. Prefixal schwa and suffixal /t/ were absent in participants' responses to both sentences types as often as in formal interviews. If a segment was absent, this appeared to be mostly due to extreme co-articulation, unlike in speech produced in less formal situations. Speakers thus adapted more to the formal situation of the experiment than to the stimuli to be shadowed. We conclude that speech situation affects the occurrence of reduced word pronunciation variants, which should be accounted for by psycholinguistic models of speech production and comprehension
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