Additive Effects of Lengthening on the Utterance-Final Word in Child-Directed Speech PurposeThe authors investigated lengthening effects in child-directed speech (CDS) across the sentence, testing the additive effects on duration of Word Position, Register, Focus, and Sentence Mode (statement/question).MethodFive theater students produced 6 sentences containing 5 monosyllabic words in a simulated dialogue, varying in Register, Focus, and Sentence Mode. The authors segmented ... Research Note
Research Note  |   February 01, 2013
Additive Effects of Lengthening on the Utterance-Final Word in Child-Directed Speech
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Eon-Suk Ko
    University at Buffalo, State University of New York
  • Melanie Soderstrom
    University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada
  • Note From Authors:
    Note From Authors:×
    In our study, all words were monosyllabic. Thus, the term word in this article relates specifically to a monosyllabic word. We refrain from using the term syllable because our data do not directly test if the elongation effects we investigated more generally apply to a syllable in a different environment (e.g., unstressed final syllable in a multisyllabic, utterance-final word). Related findings in previous research (e.g., Oller, 1973), however, point to the possibility that the effects may indeed apply to the final syllable, regardless of the stress or the number of syllables in the final word.
    In our study, all words were monosyllabic. Thus, the term word in this article relates specifically to a monosyllabic word. We refrain from using the term syllable because our data do not directly test if the elongation effects we investigated more generally apply to a syllable in a different environment (e.g., unstressed final syllable in a multisyllabic, utterance-final word). Related findings in previous research (e.g., Oller, 1973), however, point to the possibility that the effects may indeed apply to the final syllable, regardless of the stress or the number of syllables in the final word.×
  • Correspondence to Eon-Suk Ko: eonsukko@buffalo.edu
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Susan Rvachew
    Associate Editor: Susan Rvachew×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language
Research Note   |   February 01, 2013
Additive Effects of Lengthening on the Utterance-Final Word in Child-Directed Speech
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2013, Vol. 56, 364-371. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0341)
History: Received December 11, 2011 , Accepted May 14, 2012
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2013, Vol. 56, 364-371. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0341)
History: Received December 11, 2011; Accepted May 14, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

PurposeThe authors investigated lengthening effects in child-directed speech (CDS) across the sentence, testing the additive effects on duration of Word Position, Register, Focus, and Sentence Mode (statement/question).

MethodFive theater students produced 6 sentences containing 5 monosyllabic words in a simulated dialogue, varying in Register, Focus, and Sentence Mode. The authors segmented a total of 1,800 sentences using forced-alignment tools, and they analyzed the duration of each word.

ResultsThe results show significant effects of Register, Word Position, and their interactions. The simple effect of Register was significant in all 5 word positions, indicating a global elongation effect in CDS. Interestingly, there was no proportional increase of the final word in CDS. In addition, the 3-way interactions Register × Word Position × Focus and Register × Word Position × Sentence Mode were significant, which converge to the conclusion that the utterance-final word in CDS is additively elongated when it is focused and in a statement.

ConclusionElongation in CDS is a global effect, but the additive effects of duration demonstrated in the authors' data suggest that the effect of enhanced utterance-final lengthening in CDS in naturalistic samples may be a by-product of discourse characteristics of CDS.

Acknowledgments
The project was partially funded through an NSERC Discovery grant to the second author. We thank the theater students and mothers who participated in our study, including during the pilot stage. In addition, we thank Lindsay Bacala and Dana Bernier for their assistance with data collection, and Alex Walters, Mengyang Qiu, and Sandra Hunt for their assistance with data analysis.
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