The analysis of contextual effects on segmental duration

Jan P.H. van Santen, Joseph P. Olive

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


In natural speech, segmental duration depends on several factors, including phonemic identity, phonetic context, phrase boundaries, lexical stress, and speaking rate. These factors interact: the magnitude of the effect of a factor-whether measured in milliseconds or as percentage change-often depends on other factors. This paper introduces two data analysis methods for constructing a duration model that best describes a given body of multi-factorially dependent durations. The methods are illustrated with a single-speaker data base consisting of vowel durations measured at two speaking rates in contexts varying in phrasal location, stress, and other factors; text materials are two-word pseudo-phrases. Both methods analyse the structure of two-way rearrangements of the N-way data matrix, in which columns correspond to combinations of levels of k factors and rows to combinations of levels of the remaining N-k factors. The first method concerns models that express duration as a sum of additive and multiplicative terms (additive-multiplicative models), such as various versions of a model by Klatt (Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 54(4), 1973). It determines which additive-multiplicative model best describes the data, by making use of the fact that a given additive-multiplicative model predicts for any two-way rearrangement whether the between-columns covariance matrix is either constant, multiplicative, or neither. The second method determines the general functional form that best describes the data, by testing for which two-way rearrangement the durations in each column are in the same numerical order (a property known as joint independence).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-390
Number of pages32
JournalComputer Speech and Language
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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