Schwa Deletion in Word-Initial Syllables of Polysyllabic Words

Investigations Using Large French Speech Corpora

Authors

  • Yaru Wu Laboratoire de Phonétique et Phonologie, CNRS-Sorbonne Nouvelle
  • Martine Adda-Decker Laboratoire de Phonétique et Phonologie, CNRS-Sorbonne Nouvelle
  • Lori Lamel LIMSI, CNRS, Université Paris-Saclay

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/jmbs.17311

Keywords:

Schwa deletion, large corpora, forced alignment, speech style, spontaneous speech, spoken French

Abstract

This study aims to analyse factors that could influence schwa deletion in word-initial syllables of polysyllabic words in continuous French speech. Both phonological and extralinguistic factors were considered: number of consonants, post-lexical context, speech style, sex and profession. Three large corpora covering different speech styles were explored using forced alignment with optional schwa variants. Formal journalistic ESTER corpus, conversational journalistic ETAPE corpus and casual speech NCCFr corpus were used in this study. We observe that schwa tends to be deleted more for 2C-words than for 3C-words. Words preceded by a consonant or a pause tend to prevent schwa deletion whereas words preceded by a vowel tend to facilitate schwa deletion. The less formal the speech style is, the more schwas are deleted. Males tend to delete schwas more frequently than females. Interestingly, journalists tend to delete more schwas than politicians in our data.

References

Adda-Decker, M., Boula de Mareüil, P., Adda, G. & Lamel, L. (2005). Investigating syllabic structures and their variation in spontaneous French. Speech communication, 46(2), 119â??39. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.specom.2005.03.006

Adda-Decker, M., Boula de Mareüil, P. & Lamel, L. (1999). Pronunciation variants in French: schwa & liaison. In Proceedings of the XIVth International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (pp. 2239â??42). Berkeley, CA: University of California, Department of Linguistics.

Adda-Decker, M. & Lamel, L. (1999). Pronunciation variants across system configuration, language and speaking style. Speech Communication, 29(2â??4), 83â??98. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0167-6393(99)00032-1

Adda-Decker, M. & Lamel, L. (2000). The use of lexica in automatic speech recognition. In F. Van Eynde & D. Gibbon (eds), Lexicon development for speech and language processing (pp. 235â??66). Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-010-9458-0_8

Adda-Decker, M., & Lamel, L. (2005). Do speech recognizers prefer female speakers? In Ninth European conference on speech communication and technology. Lisbon.

Anderson, S. (1982). The Analysis of French Schwa. Language, 58, 534â??73.

Aubanel, V. (2011). Variation phonologique régionale en interaction conversationnelle Doctoral dissertation, Univ. Aix-Marseille 1.

Bates, D., Mächler, M., Bolker, B. M. & Walker, S. C. (2015). Fitting linear mixed-effects models using lme4. Journal of Statistical Software, 67(1), 1â??48. https://doi.org/10.18637/jss.v067.i01

Boula de Mareüil, P., Rilliard, A. & Allauzen, A. (2012). A diachronic study of initial stress and other prosodic features in the French news announcer style: corpus-based measurements and perceptual experiments. Language and Speech, 55(2), 263â??93. https://doi.org/10.1177/0023830911417799

Brognaux, S. & Drugman, T. (2014). Variations phonétiques: Impact de la situation de communication. Nouveaux Cahiers de Linguistique Francaise, 31, 335.

Charette, M. (1991), Conditions on phonological government. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Clements, G. N. (1990). The role of the sonority cycle in core syllabification. Papers in Laboratory Phonology, 1, 283â??333. https://doi.org/10.1017/cbo9780511627736.017

Côté, M. H. (2000). Consonant cluster phonotactics: A perceptual approach. Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Côté, M. H. (2004). Consonant cluster simplification in Québec French. Probus, 16(2), 151â??201. https://doi.org/10.1515/prbs.2004.16.2.151

Delattre, P. (1966). Studies in French and comparative phonetics. The Hague: Mouton.

Dell, F. (1973). Les règles et les sons (Vol. 25). Paris: Hermann.

Duez, D. (1997). Acoustic markers of political power. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 26(6), 641â??54.

Durand, J. & Eychenne, J. (2007). Remarks on schwa deletion and epenthesis in French. Proceedings of the 5th Journées dâ??Etudes Linguistiques (pp. 89â??94). Nantes: Laboratoire de Linguistique de Nantes.

Durand, J., Laks, B. & Lyche, C. (2009). Phonologie, variation et accents du Français. Paris: Hermès.

Encrevé, P. (1977). Présentation: linguistique et sociolinguistique. Langue française, 34(1), 3â??16. https://doi.org/10.3406/lfr.1977.4814

Eychenne, J. (2006). Aspects de la phonologie du schwa dans le français contemporain. Doctoral dissertation, Université de Toulouse-Le Mirail, France.

Galliano, S., Geoffrois, E., Gravier, G., Bonastre, J. F., Mostefa, D. & Choukri, K. (2006). Corpus description of the ESTER evaluation campaign for the rich transcription of French broadcast news. Proceedings of LREC, 6, 315â??20.

Gauvain, J. L., Adda, G., Adda-Decker, M., Allauzen, A., Gendner, V., Lamel, L. & Schwenk, H. (2005). Where are we in transcribing French broadcast news? In Ninth European conference on speech communication and technology (pp. 1665â??8). Lisbon. https://doi.org/10.1109/icassp.1997.596002

Gauvain, J. L., Lamel, L. & Adda, G. (2002). The LIMSI broadcast news transcription system. Speech Communication, 37(1), 89â??108. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0167-6393(01)00061-9

Giraudel, A., Carré, M., Mapelli, V., Kahn, J., Galibert, O. & Quintard, L. (2012). The REPERE Corpus: a multimodal corpus for person recognition. Proceedings of LREC, 11, 1102â??7.

Grammont, M. (1894). Le patois de la Franche-Montagne et en particulier de Damprichard (Franche-Comté). IV: La loi des trois consonnes. Mémoires de la Société de linguistique de Paris, 8, 53â??90. https://doi.org/10.2143/bsl.90.1.2002532

Gravier, G., Adda, G., Paulson, N., Carré, M., Giraudel, A. & Galibert, O. (2012). The ETAPE corpus for the evaluation of speech-based TV content processing in the French language. Proceedings of LREC, 12, 114â??18.

Hansen, A. B. (1994). Ã?tude du e caduc: stabilisation en cours et variations lexicales. Journal of French Language Studies, 4(1), 25â??54. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0959269500001964

Labov, W. (1976). Sociolinguistique. Paris: Editions de Minuit.

Lacheret, A & Lyche, C. (2008). Looking at French schwa in initial position through the glasses of prosody. Retrieved from www.isca-speech.org/archive/sp2008/sp08_523.html.

Léon, P. R. (1971). Essais de phonostylistique, vol. 4. Montréal: Didier.

Lyche, C. & Durand, J. (1996). Testing government phonology ou pourquoi le choix du schwa. Current Trends in Phonology: Models and Methods, 2, 443â??71.

McCulloch, C. E. & Neuhaus, J. M. (2001). Generalized linear mixed models. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Morin, Y. C. (1988). Explaining schwa in French. Occasional Papers of the University of Essex: French Sound Patterns Changing Perspectives. Colchester: University of Essex.

New, B., Pallier, C., Ferrand, L. & Matos, R. (2001). Une base de données lexicales du français contemporain sur internet: LEXIQUEâ?¢//A lexical database for contemporary French: Lexique. Lâ??année psychologique, 101(3), 447â??62. https://doi.org/10.3406/psy.2001.1341

New, B., Pallier, C., Brysbaert, M. & Ferrand, L. (2004). Lexique 2: A new French lexical database. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 36(3), 516â??24. https://doi.org/10.3758/bf03195598

New, B., Brysbaert, M., Veronis, J. & Pallier, C. (2007). The use of film subtitles to estimate word frequencies. Applied Psycholinguistics, 28(4), 661â??77. https://doi.org/10.1017/s014271640707035x

Nguyen, N. & Adda-Decker, M. (2013). Méthodes et outils pour lâ??analyse phonétique des grands corpus oraux. Paris: Hermès-Lavoisier.

Racine, I. (2008). Les effets de lâ??effacement du Schwa sur la production et la perception de la parole en français. Doctoral dissertation, University of Geneva, Switzerland.

R Development Core Team (2013). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna, Austria: R Foundation for Statistical Computing.

Scheer, T. (2000). Lâ??immunité de schwa en début de mot. Langue française, 126, 113â??26. https://doi.org/10.3406/lfr.2000.992

Simpson, A. P. (2000). Gender-specific differences in the articulatory and acoustic realization of interword vowel sequences in American English. In 5th Seminar on Speech Production: Models and Data (pp. 209â??12). Kloster Seeon: Elsevier Science.

Torreira, F., Adda-Decker, M. & Ernestus, M. (2010). The Nijmegen corpus of casual French. Speech Communication, 52(3), 201â??12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.specom.2009.10.004

Tranel, B. (1987). French schwa and nonlinear phonology. Linguistics, 25(5), 845â??66. https://doi.org/10.1515/ling.1987.25.5.845

Verluyten, S. P (ed.). (1988). La phonologie du schwa français, vol. 16. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.

Wioland, F. (1985). Les structures syllabiques du français: fréquence et distribution des phonèmes consonantiques, contraintes idiomatiques dans les séquences consonantiques, vol. 31. Paris: Editions Slatkine.

Published

2020-12-24

How to Cite

Wu, Yaru, Martine Adda-Decker, and Lori Lamel. 2020. “Schwa Deletion in Word-Initial Syllables of Polysyllabic Words: Investigations Using Large French Speech Corpora”. Journal of Monolingual and Bilingual Speech 2 (2):269–289. https://doi.org/10.1558/jmbs.17311.

Issue

Section

Articles