Edinburgh Research Explorer

Timing in talking: What is it used for, and how is it controlled?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related Edinburgh Organisations


Original languageEnglish
Article number20130395
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1658
Early online date10 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2014


In the first part of the paper, we summarize the linguistic factors which shape speech timing patterns, including the prosodic structures which govern them, and suggest that speech timing patterns are used to aid utterance recognition. In the spirit of Optimal Control Theory, we propose that recognition requirements are balanced against requirements such as rate of speech and style, as well as movement costs, to yield (near-)optimal planned surface timing patterns; additional factors may influence the implementation of that plan. In the second part of the paper, we discuss theories of timing control in models of speech production and motor control. We present three types of evidence that support models of speech production that involve extrinsic timing. These include 1) increasing variability with increases in interval duration, 2) evidence that speakers refer to and plan surface durations, and 3) independent timing of movement onsets and offsets.

Download statistics

No data available

ID: 15367038