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Word frequency, vowel length and vowel quality in speech production: An EMA study of the importance of experience

  • A frequently replicated finding is that higher frequency words tend to be shorter and contain more strongly reduced vowels. However, little is known about potential differences in the articulatory gestures for high vs. low frequency words. The present study made use of electromagnetic articulography to investigate the production of two German vowels, [i] and [a], embedded in high and low frequency words. We found that word frequency differently affected the production of [i] and [a] at the temporal as well as the gestural level. Higher frequency of use predicted greater acoustic durations for long vowels; reduced durations for short vowels; articulatory trajectories with greater tongue height for [i] and more pronounced downward articulatory trajectories for [a]. These results show that the phonological contrast between short and long vowels is learned better with experience, and challenge both the Smooth Signal Redundancy Hypothesis and current theories of German phonology.

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Author:Fabian Tomaschek, Martijn Wieling, Denis Arnold, R. Harald BaayenGND
Parent Title (English):14th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (INTERSPEECH 2013), Lyon, France, 25-29 August 2013
Publisher:International Speech Communications Association
Editor:F. Bimbot, C. Cerisara, C. Fougeron, G. Gravier, L. Lamel, F. Pellegrino, P. Perrier
Document Type:Conference Proceeding
Year of first Publication:2013
Date of Publication (online):2017/03/07
Tag:articulography; learning; length; quality; vowels; word frequency
GND Keyword:Artikulation; Deutsch; Vokal; Worthäufigkeit; Wortlänge
First Page:1302
Last Page:1306
Dewey Decimal Classification:400 Sprache / 400 Sprache, Linguistik
Open Access?:ja
Leibniz-Classification:Sprache, Linguistik
Linguistics-Classification:Phonetik / Phonologie
Licence (German):Es gilt das UrhG