The role of timing and prominence in linguistic rhythm, the curious case of Estonian


UCSB Academic Senate, 2021-2024

PI: Mathew Gordon

Collaborator: Argyro Katsika

This project is an articulatory study of timing patterns in Estonian, a language that displays typologically atypical patterns of vowel and consonant duration. It is well established that speakers produce speech characterized by rhythmically regularly acoustic events that facilitate listeners’ ability to efficiently parse and comprehend the speech signal. The current study promises to enhance scientific understanding of how speakers accommodate the various, potentially competing, articulatory demands of incorporating this rhythmic patterning in the course of speaking. In doing so, this research will represent the first study of dynamic aspects of speech in Estonian using the modern technology of electromagnetometry, which provides direct insight into the articulatory mechanisms underlying the observed timing patterns that heretofore could only be inferred through acoustic study.