Vowel duration in adjectives: the effect of construction type

with Joan Bybee (University of New Mexico)

This project investigates whether the grammatical construction in which a word appears might influence its degree of reduction. We looked at how vowel duration in monosyllabic English adjectives varies as a result of their uses in attributive versus predicative syntactic functions (e.g. it’s behind the red couch vs. her dress is red) in corpora of spontaneous conversation.

This investigation has implications for studies of how predictability influences duration in natural discourse, as it adds a grammatical variable that potentially influences vowel reduction.