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Over vlugge spraak en vluchtige sjwa’s De relatie tussen spreektempo en de duur van Nederlandse svarabhaktivocalen

Kloots, H., Gillis, S. & Verhoeven, J. ORCID: 0000-0002-0738-8517 (2020). Over vlugge spraak en vluchtige sjwa’s De relatie tussen spreektempo en de duur van Nederlandse svarabhaktivocalen. Verslagen en Mededelingen van de Koninklije Academie voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde, 128(3),


This study investigates the relationship between speech tempo and the duration of epentheticschwa in Dutch. The speech materials consisted of the spontaneous speech of 160 teachers of Dutch: these speakers were equally distributed over four different regions in Belgium and the Netherlands. There were an equal number of men and women. The research focus was on 750words which contained a consonant cluster with ras the first element and a non-alveolar consonant or nas the second element. These words consisted of two or three syllables after schwa insertion (e.g., werk‘work’ > [wɛrək], werken‘to work’ > [wɛrəkən]). The speech rate of these words was calculated and the duration of any inserted schwa was measured. As predicted, the results show a clear relationship between speech rate and the duration of schwa: faster speech yields shorter schwas. Besides this general trend a statistically significant effect was found of geographical region, the number of syllables, the place of articulation of rand the second element of the consonant cluster. In addition, there was a significant interaction between speech tempo and the schwa duration in men and women: women produce shorter schwas in faster speech, while their shwas in slower speech are longer thanthose in men. As such the durational differences in schwa are more outspoken in women thanin men. This can be accounted for by the general trend that vowels are generally longer in women’s speech. The shorter schwa durations in women’s fast speech may have to do with the fact that it is easier for women to bridge articulatory distances as a result of smaller oral cavity volume.

Publication Type: Article
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
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