Yuen, Ivan; Ibrahim, Omnia; Andreeva, Bistra; Möbius, Bernd

Non-uniform cue-trading: differential effects of surprisal on pause usage and pause duration in German

Proceedings of the 20th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, ICPhS 2023 (Prague, Czech Rep.), pp. 619-623, 2023.

Pause occurrence is conditional on contextual (un)predictability (in terms of surprisal) [10, 11], and so is the acoustic implementation of duration at multiple linguistic levels. Although these cues (i.e., pause usage/pause duration and syllable duration) are subject to the influence of the same factor, it is not clear how they are related to one another. A recent study in [1] using pause duration to define prosodic boundary strength reported a more pronounced surprisal effect on syllable duration, hinting at a trading relationship. The current study aimed to directly test for trading relationships among pause usage, pause duration and syllable duration in different surprisal contexts, analysing German radio news in the DIRNDL corpus. No trading relationship was observed between pause usage and surprisal, or between pause usage and syllable duration. However, a trading relationship was found between the durations of a pause and a syllable for accented items.