Speech Prosody 2006

Dresden, Germany
May 2-5, 2006

Cross-Dialectal Turn Exchange Rhythm in English Interviews

Janice Fon

Graduate Institute of Linguistics, National Taiwan University, Taiwan

This study investigates factors underlying the exchange rhythm in Singapore English using six cross-dialectal interviews from the NIECSSE corpus. Exchange intervals (EIs), defined as the latency interval between the onsets of an exchange pair, were measured and two exchange types, question-answer and confirmation, were identified and labeled using Praat. Results showed that EIs in Singapore English were generally limited to a narrow range. Over 90% of the turn exchanges were unmarked-next-position, making this dialect closer to Midwestern and Californian than New York English. In addition, EIs were reflective of the cognitive load. Exchange pairs requiring more cognitive processing tend to have longer EIs, rendering a mismatch between adjacency coupling and rhythmic structure. Due to different levels of social insecurity and social expectations, EIs also vary with gender, with female speakers having EIs twice as long as males. However, individual talker style did not seem to be a deciding factor when all other potential factors were partialled out.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Fon, Janice (2006): "Cross-dialectal turn exchange rhythm in English interviews", In SP-2006, paper 179.