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Späth, Mona; Aichert, Ingrid; Ceballos-Baumann, Andrés O.; Wagner-Sonntag, Edith; Miller, Nick and Ziegler, Wolfram (2016): Entraining with another person's speech rhythm: Evidence from healthy speakers and individuals with Parkinson's disease. In: Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, Vol. 30, No. 1: pp. 68-85

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This study examines entrainment of speech timing and rhythm with a model speaker in healthy persons and individuals with Parkinson's. We asked whether participants coordinate their speech initiation and rhythm with the model speaker, and whether the regularity of metrical structure of sentences influences this behaviour. Ten native German speakers with hypokinetic dysarthria following Parkinson's and 10 healthy controls heard a sentence ('prime') and subsequently read aloud another sentence ('target'). Speech material comprised 32 metrically regular and irregular sentences, respectively. Turn-taking delays and alignment of speech rhythm were measured using speech wave analyses. Results showed that healthy participants initiated speech more closely in rhythm with the model speaker than patients. Metrically regular prime sentences induced anticipatory responses relative to metrically irregular primes. Entrainment of speech rhythm was greater in metrically regular targets, especially in individuals with Parkinson's. We conclude that individuals with Parkinson's may exploit metrically regular cues in speech.

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