Syllable timing and pausing: Evidence from Cantonese

Conrad PERRY, Kwok Shing Richard WONG, Stephen MATTHEWS

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


We examined the relationship between the acoustic duration of syllables and the silent pauses that follow them in Cantonese. The results showed that at major syntactic junctures, acoustic plus silent pause durations were quite similar for a number of different syllable types whose acoustic durations differed substantially. In addition, it appeared that CV: syllables, which had the longest acoustic duration of all syllable types that were examined, were also the least likely to have silent pauses after them. These results suggest that cross-language differences between the probability that silent pauses are used at major syntactic junctures might potentially be explained by the accuracy at which timing slots can be assigned for syllables, rather than more complex explanations that have been proposed. Copyright © 2009 The Authors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-53
JournalLanguage and Speech
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009


Perry, C. Wong, R. K.-S., & Matthews, S. (2009). Syllable timing and pausing: Evidence from Cantonese. Language and Speech, 52(1), 29-53.


  • Cantonese
  • Speech timing


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