Proc. of the International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS), Vol. 1, pp. 615-618, San Francisco, 1999
A case study of spontaneous speech in Japanese
Abstract: This paper investigates spontaneous speech in Japanese, particularly phonetic phenomena that do not normally occur in carefully pronounced formal speech. I discuss several pronunciation variations in a corpus, including reduction or deletion of both vowels and consonants. In this study, I also analyzed a specific speech utterance, which has a combination of some of those pronunciation variations, in detail. It was often difficult to identify each segment in the utterance solely by listening to just the few segments themselves (micro-listening), even if listening to the entire phrase (macro-listening) sounded intelligible. I conducted a perceptual experiment using this utterance; the results showed that the same speech segment was perceived as two morae by micro-listening and as five morae by macro-listening. Listeners use a combination of temporal and contextual cues to reconstruct a speaker’s intentions, although the phenomena found in spontaneous speech show that phonetic segments may change their appearance.