Assistant Professor Jelena Krivokapic published, “A Kinematic Study of Prosodic Structure in Articulatory and Manual Gestures: Results from a Novel Method of Data Collection” in the eight edition of Laboratory Phonology: Journal of the Association for Laboratory Phonology.  The study was co-authored by Mark K. Tiede (Haskins Laboratories, US) and Martha E. Tyrone (Long Island University Brooklyn; and Haskins Laboratories, US).

The authors conclude, “in a fine-grained study of prominence-related lengthening, we have provided evidence that manual gestures lengthen under prominence. While prominence-related lengthening effects have been previously shown for finger-tapping and speech gestures, and for pointing gestures and acoustic measures of speech, this is the first time that a detailed analysis of lengthening of both speech and manual gesture has been conducted. The boundary studies are a first step towards examining the kinematic properties of manual gestures at prosodic boundaries and provide initial evidence that body gestures exhibit boundary lengthening. If body gestures did not show lengthening, the claim that prosodic control extends beyond the vocal tract would be difficult to maintain. These results thus add crucial evidence to the body of work showing prosodic properties of body gestures.”


The primary goal of this work is to examine prosodic structure as expressed concurrently through articulatory and manual gestures. Specifically, we investigated the effects of phrase-level prominence (Experiment 1) and of prosodic boundaries (Experiments 2 and 3) on the kinematic properties of oral constriction and manual gestures. The hypothesis guiding this work is that prosodic structure will be similarly expressed in both modalities. To test this, we have developed a novel method of data collection that simultaneously records speech audio, vocal tract gestures (using electromagnetic articulometry) and manual gestures (using motion capture). This method allows us, for the first time, to investigate kinematic properties of body movement and vocal tract gestures simultaneously, which in turn allows us to examine the relationship between speech and body gestures with great precision. A second goal of the paper is thus to establish the validity of this method. Results from two speakers show that manual and oral gestures lengthen under prominence and at prosodic boundaries, indicating that the effects of prosodic structure extend beyond the vocal tract to include body movement.