Yuen, Ivan; Demuth, Katherine; Shattuck-Hufnagel, Stefanie

Planning of prosodic clitics in Australian English

Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, Routledge, pp. 1-6, 2022.

The prosodic word (PW) has been proposed as a planning unit in speech production (Levelt et al. [1999. A theory of lexical access in speech production. Behavioral and Brain Sciences22, 1–75]), supported by evidence that speech initiation time (RT) is faster for Dutch utterances with fewer PWs due to cliticisation (with the number of lexical words and syllables kept constant) (Wheeldon & Lahiri [1997. Prosodic units in speech production. Journal of Memory and Language37(3), 356–381.], W&L). The present study examined prosodic cliticisation (and resulting RT) for a different set of potential clitics (articles, direct-object pronouns), in English, using a different response task (immediate reading aloud). W&L’s result of shorter RTs for fewer PWs was replicated for articles, but not for pronouns, suggesting a difference in cliticisation for these two function word types. However, a post-hoc analysis of the duration of the verb preceding the clitic suggests that both are cliticised. These findings highlight the importance of supplementing production latency measures with phonetic duration measures to understand different stages of language production during utterance planning.