Synchronous speech is speech elicited by asking speakers to read a text in synchrony. The present study investigates the timing characteristics of speech obtained under such circumstances. In a main experiment, subjects read a text alone, with a recording of another speaker, or with another live speaker. The last condition produces a much higher degree of synchrony, even at the left edges of phrases following a pause. Subjects display a high level of agreement in pause placement in the synchronous condition, but add pauses idiosyncratically when reading alone. A small second experiment fails to uncover the informational basis of this synchrony, because some subjects can achieve similar synchrony with a recording of synchronous speech, whereas others appear to require a live speaker. Speech that has been modified in this manner is of immediate interest because it seems to express speaker’s attempts to produce maximally predictable speech.

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