In this study, we investigate the characteristics of pausing in speakers' production and listeners' interpretation in three different speaking styles in Swedish: elicited spontaneous dialogues, professional and non-professional news reading. Considerable attention is given to the positions in which pauses can appear, in particular their discourse context regarding theme shift. We show that the acoustic silent intervals that are perceived by the listeners correlate with the discourse structure, while perceived pauses having an acoustic silence in the speech signal, correlate to the duration of the acoustic silence.
The results show clear differences between the speaking styles. In reading, the majority of acoustic pauses are perceived and the majority of both the acoustic and perceived pauses are located at theme shift. In dialogues, on the other hand, few acoustic pauses are perceived by the listeners and the majority of both the acoustic and perceived pauses are positioned at theme continuation. Furthermore, where many pauses are perceived by the listeners, such as in non-professional reading and dialogues, we find long acoustic silent intervals.