Planning of prosodic clitics in Australian English

I. Yuen*, K. Demuth, S. Shattuck-Hufnagel

*Corresponding author for this work

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The prosodic word (PW) has been proposed as a planning unit in speech production (Levelt et al. [1999. A theory of lexical access in speech production. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 22, 1-75]), supported by evidence that speech initiation time (RT) is faster for Dutch utterances with fewer PWs due to cliticisation (with the number of lexical words and syllables kept constant) (Wheeldon & Lahiri [1997. Prosodic units in speech production. Journal of Memory and Language, 37(3), 356-381.], W&L). The present study examined prosodic cliticisation (and resulting RT) for a different set of potential clitics (articles, direct-object pronouns), in English, using a different response task (immediate reading aloud). W&L's result of shorter RTs for fewer PWs was replicated for articles, but not for pronouns, suggesting a difference in cliticisation for these two function word types. However, a post-hoc analysis of the duration of the verb preceding the clitic suggests that both are cliticised. These findings highlight the importance of supplementing production latency measures with phonetic duration measures to understand different stages of language production during utterance planning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1271-1276
Number of pages6
JournalLanguage, Cognition and Neuroscience
Issue number10
Early online date5 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • prosodic word
  • prosodic clitics
  • clitic type
  • prosodic planning
  • syntactic planning


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