Syntactic Probability Influences Duration: Production of prosodic boundaries in clefted structures
The strength of a prosodic boundary, implemented as the amount of phrase-final lengthening, is dependent on the probability of occurrence of upcoming syntactic structure. Prosodic boundaries in low-probability structures are stronger than similar boundaries in high-probability structures. The relevant probability is calculated ‘locally’, relative to the past several sentences to which a speaker has been exposed, rather than ‘globally’, relative to the speaker’s entire past experience with her language taken as a whole.
Paper in Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics (June, 2013)
Near Boulder, CO, where the study was conducted.