The influence of final-syllable position on the vowel and word duration of deaf talkers a)

Nancy Tye-Murray, George Woodworth

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4 Scopus citations


Hearing talkers produce shorter vowel and word durations in multisyllabic contexts than in monosyllabic contexts. This investigation determined whether a similar effect occurs for deaf talkers, a population often characterized as lacking coarticulation in their speech. Four prelingually deafened adults and two hearing controls produced three sets of word sequences. Each set included a kernel word and six derived forms (e.g., “speed,” “speedy,” “speeding,” etc.). The derived forms were created by adding unstressed and stressed syllables to the kernel form. A spectrographic analysis indicated that the deaf subjects did not always decrease word and vowel durations for the derivatives. Unlike hearing speakers, they often did not reduce vowel segments more than consonant segments. Three explanations are forwarded for the shortening effects. One relates to the implementation of temporal rules, the second concerns the organization imposed upon the articulators to produce speech, and the third suggests a language-independent vocal tract characteristic. The role of auditory information in developing the shortening effects is also considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-321
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1989


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