The role of function words in spontaneous speech processing

The Joint Faculties of Humanities and Theology | Lund University

The role of function words in spontaneous speech processing

The project investigated the role of function words in speech processing. Four different but related tasks were undertaken:

  1. empirical investigations of the lexico-syntactic form of information units following hesitation disfluencies. The hypothesis was  that the segmental and prosodic form of 'stranded' function words and type of following pause can provide important cues as to the syntactic complexity of the speech fragment(s) following a hesitation;
  2. investigations of the variation in phonetic form of function words in fluent and nonfluent speech;
  3. an exploratory study into timing restrictions on speech production units;
  4. the design of a ‘breathing’ pause detector using acoustic information.  The results of all these studies are relevant for the development of models for automatic parsing of spontaneous speech and for the psycholinguistic modelling of speech production.

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