Morphological predictability and acoustic duration of interfixes in Dutch compounds
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This study explores the effects of informational redundancy, as carried by a word's morphological paradigmatic structure, on acoustic duration in read aloud speech. The hypothesis that the more predictable a linguistic unit is, the less salient its realization, was tested on the basis of the acoustic duration of interfixes in Dutch compounds in two datasets: One for the interfix -s- (1155 tokens) and one for the interfix -e(n)- (742 tokens). Both datasets show that the more probable the interfix is, given the compound and its constituents, the longer it is realized. These findings run counter to the predictions of information-theoretical approaches and can be resolved by the Paradigmatic Signal Enhancement Hypothesis. This hypothesis argues that whenever selection of an element from alternatives is probabilistic, the element's duration is predicted by the amount of paradigmatic support for the element: The most likely alternative in the paradigm of selection is realized longer.
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