Ibrahim, Omnia; Yuen, Ivan; van Os, Marjolein; Andreeva, Bistra; Möbius, Bernd

The combined effects of contextual predictability and noise on the acoustic realisation of German syllables

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 152, 2022.

Speakers tend to speak clearly in noisy environments, while they tend to reserve effort by shortening word duration in predictable contexts. It is unclear how these two communicative demands are met. The current study investigates the acoustic realizations of syllables in predictable vs unpredictable contexts across different background noise levels. Thirty-eight German native speakers produced 60 CV syllables in two predictability contexts in three noise conditions (reference = quiet, 0 dB and −10 dB signal-to-noise ratio). Duration, intensity (average and range), F0 (median), and vowel formants of the target syllables were analysed. The presence of noise yielded significantly longer duration, higher average intensity, larger intensity range, and higher F0. Noise levels affected intensity (average and range) and F0. Low predictability syllables exhibited longer duration and larger intensity range. However, no interaction was found between noise and predictability. This suggests that noise-related modifications might be independent of predictability-related changes, with implications for including channel-based and message-based formulations in speech production.