Paper: Syntactic Surprisal Affects Spoken Word Duration in Conversational Contexts

ACL ID D12-1033
Title Syntactic Surprisal Affects Spoken Word Duration in Conversational Contexts
Venue Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing
Session Main Conference
Year 2012
Authors

We present results of a novel experiment to in- vestigate speech production in conversational data that links speech rate to information den- sity. We provide the first evidence for an asso- ciation between syntactic surprisal and word duration in recorded speech. Using the AMI corpus which contains transcriptions of focus group meetings with precise word durations, we show that word durations correlate with syntactic surprisal estimated from the incre- mental Roark parser over and above simpler measures, such as word duration estimated from a state-of-the-art text-to-speech system and word frequencies, and that the syntac- tic surprisal estimates are better predictors of word durations than a simpler version of sur- prisal based on trigram probabilities. This re- sult supports the uniform...