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      Beyond the Iambic-Trochaic Law: the joint influence of duration and intensity on the perception of rhythmic speech

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      Phonology

      Cambridge University Press (CUP)

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          Abstract

          The Iambic-Trochaic Law (ITL) asserts that listeners associate greater acoustic intensity with group beginnings and greater duration with group endings. Some researchers have assumed a natural connection between these perceptual tendencies and universal principles underlying linguistic categories of rhythm. The experimental literature on ITL effects is limited in three ways. Few studies of listeners' perceptions of alternating sound sequences have used speech-like stimuli, cross-linguistic testing has been inadequate and existing studies have manipulated intensity and duration singly, whereas these features vary together in natural speech. This paper reports the results of three experiments conducted with native Zapotec speakers and one with native English speakers. We tested listeners' grouping biases using streams of alternating syllables in which intensity and duration were varied separately, and sequences in which they were covaried. The findings suggest that care should be taken in assuming a natural connection between the ITL and universal principles of prosodic organisation.

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          Most cited references 12

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          The Perception of Rhythmic Units in Speech by Infants and Adults

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            A Rhythmic Bias in Preverbal Speech Segmentation

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              Infants' and adults' use of duration and intensity cues in the segmentation of tone patterns.

               B. Adams,  L J Trainor (2000)
              Adults and 8-month-olds were presented with sequences in which every third complex tone was either longer or more intense. Segmentation was measured by comparing the detection of silent gaps inserted into three possible locations in each pattern: Silent gaps inserted at perceived segmentation boundaries are harder to detect than gaps within perceived phrases or groups. A go/no-go conditioned head-turn (hand-raising for adults) procedure was used. In Experiment 1, detection was worse for the gaps following the longer complex tones than for the gaps at the other locations, suggesting that the longer tones marked the ends of perceived groups for both infants and adults. Experiment 2 showed that an increase in intensity did not result in any systematic grouping at either age.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                applab
                Phonology
                Phonology
                Cambridge University Press (CUP)
                0952-6757
                1469-8188
                May 2014
                May 20 2014
                May 2014
                : 31
                : 01
                : 51-94
                Article
                10.1017/S0952675714000037
                © 2014

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