Atrás Ponente invitad@: Mirjam Ernestus. How the rhythm of a sentence affects the number of syllables in a word

Mirjam Ernestus. How the rhythm of a sentence affects the number of syllables in a word

19/4/2024
- BCBL auditorium (and BCBL zoom room 2)

What: How the rhythm of a sentence affects the number of syllables in a word

Where: BCBL Auditorium and zoom room # 2 (If you would like to attend to this meeting reserve at info@bcbl.eu)

Who: Professor Mirjam Ernestus, PhD, Centre for Language Studies, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands

When:  Friday,  Apr 19th at 12:00 PM noon.

It has been known for years that speakers may adapt the position of the primary stress in a word in order to avoid a clash with the stress on the next word (compare English thirteen in twelve, thirtéén, fourtéén and in thírteen mén). In this talk, I will discuss two corpus studies, based on Dutch, showing that speakers may also adapt the number of syllables in a word in order to avoid stress clashes. I will show that Dutch speakers prefer not to reduce the word eigenlijk ‘actually’ to a single syllable (e.g. they prefer /ɛɪxək/ over /ɛɪk/) and that they prefer the plural noun affix -en above -s (e.g. residuën over residu’s ‘residus’) when the next word starts with a stressed syllable. This finding has important consequences for our view of speech production. It shows that the speaker’s “internal beat” plays a crucial role, also in spontaneous speech. Moreover, it shows that both the exact pronunciations and the morphemes of the words in an utterance are not determined in a strictly ordered manner.