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Title: Phonological reduction and intelligibility in task-oriented dialogue
Author: Sotillo, Catherine Frances
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1997
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This thesis explores the implications of Lindblom's theory of Hyper- and Hypo-articulation (Lindblom, 1983, 1990) for word intelligibility and the likely application of phonological reduction processes in spontaneous discourse, using data from the HCRC Map Task Corpus. Lindblom claims that variability in articulatory clarity is a reflection of speakers' assessments of their listeners' information requirements: speakers hyper-articulate when listeners require maximum acoustic input from with information from other sources. To prevent speakers from over-economising to a point of unintelligibility, hypo-articulation is governed by a constraint of lexical distinctiveness: speakers hypo-articulate only while listeners are able to distinguish the target from competing lexical items. Three main questions are addressed. First, do the informational needs of the listener affect the articulatory clarity of words produced in spontaneous conversation? A series of intelligibility experiments shows that repeated mentions of landmark names are less intelligible than their introductory mentions, independent of which speaker utters either mention, and who can see the landmark on their map. Although the results can be interpreted as supporting Lindblom's view, textual Giveness (Prince, 1981) is shown to depend upon what the speaker knows, rather than what the speaker believes her listener to know. The reduction in clarity associated with an increase in available information is not necessarily listener-oriented as the H & H theory proposes. Secondly, do phonological processes such as word-final /d/-deletion or place assimilation contribute to intelligibility loss? Although reduction processes are found to be more prevalent in tokens from spontaneous discourse than in matched citation forms, they generally fail to account for effects of repetition. An increase in assimilation is found for repeated mentions of nasal-final stimuli in pre-velar position, but no effects is found for assimilation in pre-label position, or for word-final /d/-deletion, nor is an effect found for the duration of schwa in metrically Weak initial syllables of polysyllabic words.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available