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      Production planning and coronal stop deletion in spontaneous speech

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          Many phonological processes can be affected by segmental context spanning word boundaries, which often lead to variable outcomes. This paper tests the idea that some of this variability can be explained by reference to production planning. We examine coronal stop deletion (CSD), a variable process conditioned by preceding and upcoming phonological context, in a corpus of spontaneous British English speech, as a means of investigating a number of variables associated with planning: Prosodic boundary strength, word frequency, conditional probability of the following word, and speech rate. From the perspective of production planning, (1) prosodic boundaries should affect deletion rate independently of following context; (2) given the locality of production planning, the effect of the following context should decrease at stronger prosodic boundaries; and (3) other factors affecting planning scope should modulate the effect of upcoming phonological material above and beyond the modulating effect of prosodic boundaries. We build a statistical model of CSD realization, using pause length as a quantitative proxy for boundary strength, and find support for these predictions. These findings are compatible with the hypothesis that the locality of production planning constrains variability in speech production, and have practical implications for work on CSD and other variable processes.

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          Most cited references 54

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          Speech planning during multiple-object naming: effects of ageing.

          Two experiments were conducted with younger and older speakers. In Experiment 1, participants named single objects that were intact or visually degraded, while hearing distractor words that were phonologically related or unrelated to the object name. In both younger and older participants naming latencies were shorter for intact than for degraded objects and shorter when related than when unrelated distractors were presented. In Experiment 2, the single objects were replaced by object triplets, with the distractors being phonologically related to the first object's name. Naming latencies and gaze durations for the first object showed degradation and relatedness effects that were similar to those in single-object naming. Older participants were slower than younger participants when naming single objects and slower and less fluent on the second but not the first object when naming object triplets. The results of these experiments indicate that both younger and older speakers plan object names sequentially, but that older speakers use this planning strategy less efficiently.
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            Prosodic Planning: Effects of Phrasal Length and Complexity on Pause Duration.

            Research on pause duration has mainly focused on the impact of syntactic structure on the duration of pauses within an utterance and on the impact of syntax, discourse, and prosodic structure on the likelihood of pause occurrence. Relatively little is known about what factors play a role in determining the duration of pauses between utterances or phrases. Two experiments examining the effect of prosodic structure and phrase length on pause duration are reported. Subjects read sentences varying along the following parameters: a) the length in syllables of the intonational phrase preceding and following the pause, and b) the prosodic structure of the intonational phrase preceding and following the pause, specifically whether or not the intonational phrase branches into smaller phrases. In order to minimize variability due to speech rate and individual differences, speakers read sentences synchronously in dyads. The results showed a significant post-boundary effect of prosodic branching and significant pre- and post-boundary phrase length effects. The results are discussed in terms of production units.
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              Locality in phonology and production planning.


                Author and article information

                Laboratory Phonology: Journal of the Association for Laboratory Phonology
                Ubiquity Press
                15 June 2017
                : 8
                : 1
                Department of Linguistics, McGill University, CA
                Copyright: © 2017 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See

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