Alice Turk

University of Edinburgh



The Smooth Signal Redundancy Hypothesis and Prosodic Structure

In the first part of this talk, I review the claims of the Smooth Signal Redundancy hypothesis in speech production. The Smooth Signal Redundancy view hypothesizes that speakers plan the complementarity of language redundancy (recognition likelihood based on lexical, syntactic, semantic, pragmatic factors as well as real world knowledge) and acoustic redundancy (recognition likelihood based on acoustic salience) in order to achieve a smooth signal redundancy profile (even recognition likelihood of all elements in an utterance). I discuss evidence suggesting that speakers control signal redundancy through the manipulation of planned prosodic structure, which includes both prominence and constituent structure.

In the second part of the talk, I present results from a speech perception experiment showing adult-child differences in cue weighting for word-initial vs. word-final consonants. I suggest that these adult-child differences can be explained by adults’ opportunities to learn about differences in language redundancy for word-initial vs. word-final consonants.


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Alice Turk is Professor of Linguistic Phonetics at the University of Edinburgh. She is an experimental phonetician interested in the structures and mechanisms that humans use when they speak. Her research has focused primarily on speech timing: the temporal patterns that occur in spoken utterances, the structures and mechanisms that shape them, and how models of speech motor control can account for them.