Speech is a three-dimensional physical entity that consists of F0/pitch, intensity, and duration. This paper is the last of three publications devoted to a comprehensive review of the aforementioned correlates. Koffi (2019) and Koffi (2020) focused on F0/Pitch and intensity respectively. The current study is devoted entirely to duration. The goal behind these comprehensive reviews is to assemble in a single paper as much information as possible so that speech data can be interpreted accurately in accordance with acoustic phonetics, engineering, and speech signal processing norms. With regard to duration, first, it must be noted that its measurements are to be interpreted linearly but not literally. Secondly, it is worth emphasizing that speech signals have their own intrinsic durational characteristics. Consequently, the duration of a syllable, a word, a phrase, or an utterance is the sum total of the intrinsic durations of its constitutive segments. Yet, the duration of speech signals is also conditioned by factors as diverse as articulatory gestures, the syntactic distribution of words, the venue where the speech event takes place, the relationship between the talker and the hearer, the formality or informality of the occasion, the tempo of delivery, among others. The key linguistic factors that affect duration are discussed in this paper. Though the examples are mostly from American English and Anyi (a Niger-Congo/Akan language spoken in Côte d’Ivoire) the insights derived from this paper apply broadly to other languages because the speech production and perception mechanisms that undergird duration are the same for every language.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Author Bio

Ettien Koffi, Ph.D. linguistics, teaches at Saint Cloud State University, MN. He is the author of five books and author/co-author of several dozen articles on acoustic phonetics, phonology, language planning and policy, emergent orthographies, syntax, and translation. His acoustic phonetic research is synergetic, encompassing L2 acoustic phonetics of English (Speech Intelligibility from the perspectives of the Critical Band Theory), sociophonetics of Central Minnesota English, general acoustic phonetics of Anyi (a West African language), acoustic phonetic feature extraction for application in Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR), Text-to-Speech (TTS), Speech-to-Text (STT), Intelligent Systems, and voice biometrics for speaker verification. He can be reached at enkoffi@stcloudstate.edu.



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