Journal Ukrainian Language – №2 (74) 2020
Oleksandr Ishchenko, Candidate in philology, deputy director for research, NASU Institute of Encyclopedic Research
3 Tereshchenkivska St., Kyiv 01001, Ukraine
Abstract: The study analyzes speech pauses of Ukrainian. The research material is the audio texts of spontaneous conversational speech of customarily pronunciation and intonation, as well as non-spontaneous (read) speech of clear pronunciation and expressive intonation. We show a robust tendency for high frequency of pauses after nouns. It suggests that pausing is like a predictor of nouns. The frequency of pausing after verbs is slightly lower. The probability of pause location after any another part of speech is much lower. Generally, pausing can be occurred after words of any grammatical category. These findings spread virtually equally to both spontaneous conversational speech and non-spontaneous speech (clear intonated reading).
The effect of nouns on pause occurrence may be caused by universal property of the human language. It is recently accepted that nouns slow down speech across structurally and culturally diverse languages. This is because nouns load cognitive processes of the speech production planning more as compared with verbs and other parts. At the same time, some Ukrainian language features also impact the pausing after nouns (these features are characteristic of other Slavic languages too). This is about a prosodic phrasing of Ukrainian according to that interpausal utterances usually are finalized by nouns (rarely by verbs or other principal parts of speech) which get most semantic load.
The pauses do not follow after each noun, because they can be exploited in the speech segmentation in depends on linguistic (linguistic structure of speech), physiological (individuality of speech production, breathing), and psycholingual factors. We suggest that the priming effect as a noun- and verb-inducted psycholingual factor can significantly impact pausing in spoken language.
Statistical measures show the following: 430 ms ±60% is the average pause duration of non-spontaneous clear expressive speech, 355 ms ±50% is the average pause duration of spontaneous customarily speech. Thus, pauses of non-spontaneous speech have a longer duration than of spontaneous speech. This is indicated by both the average pause duration means (ms) and the relative standard deviation of pause durations (±%).
Keywords: expressive speech, spontaneous speech, phonetics, prosody, speech pauses, pausing, prepausal words, nouns, verbs.
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