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Nordic Prosody

Proceedings of the XIIth Conference, Trondheim 2016

Edited By Jardar Eggesbö Abrahamsen, Jacques Koreman and Wim van Dommelen

This volume contains articles based on the presentations given at the Nordic Prosody XII conference, which was held at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Trondheim, Norway) in August 2016. The contributors investigate various prosodic aspects, including intonation, rhythm, speaking rate, intensity, and breathing, using approaches ranging from phonetic and phonological analysis to speech technology methods. While most of the studies examine read speech, some of them explore the prosodics of spontaneous speech. The languages that receive most attention are Norwegian, Swedish and Icelandic as well as Estonian, Latgalian and Polish. In addition to the larger Nordic languages, several papers focus on regional languages spoken in these areas.

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Acoustics and discourse function of two types of breathing signals (Aleksandra Ćwiek / Marcin Włodarczak / Mattias Heldner / Petra Wagner)

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Aleksandra Ćwiek, Marcin Włodarczak, Mattias Heldner, Petra Wagner

Acoustics and discourse function of two types of breathing signals

Abstract: Breathing is fundamental for living and speech, and it has been a subject of linguistic research for years. Recently, there has been a renewed interest in tackling the question of possible communicative functions of breathing (e.g. Rochet-Capellan & Fuchs, 2014; Aare, Włodarczak & Heldner, 2014; Włodarczak & Heldner, 2015; Włodarczak, Heldner, & Edlund, 2015). The present study set out to determine acoustic markedness and communicative functions of pauses accompanied and non-accompanied by breathing. We hypothesised that an articulatory reset occurring in breathing pauses and an articulatory freeze in non-breathing pauses differentiates between the two types. A production experiment was conducted and some evidence in favour of such a phenomenon was found. Namely, in case of non-breathing pauses, we observed more coarticulation evidenced by a more frequent omission of plosive releases. Our findings thus give some evidence in favour of the communicative function of breathing.

1. Introduction

Respiration is a key aspect of speech and voice production. The air stream generated by the respiratory mechanism is the very first step to producing sound and the driving force for a majority of the speech sounds in the world’s languages (e.g. Catford, 1988: 183; Flohr & Müller, 2009). It has also been claimed that respiration is closely related to utterance planning (Hird & Kirsner, 2002) in that inhalation amplitude correlates both...

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