Joan Borràs-Comes

Joan Borràs-Comes
University of Barcelona | UB · Department of General Linguistics

PhD in Linguistics

About

52
Publications
12,318
Reads
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496
Citations
Introduction
PhD in Linguistics (UPF, 2012). Technical Manager of the Phonetics Laboratory at UB. My main interests are Phonetics and Phonology, Language Variation, Pragmatics, and Data Science applied to Language. I've been Adjunct Professor at different universities (UAB, UPF, URV), and Research Technician (statistical analyses, experimental designs) for researchers from all universities in Barcelona that offer language-related studies (UAB, UPF, UB, UOC, UIC). Full CV at https://about.me/ebrenc/
Additional affiliations
July 2018 - July 2019
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
Position
  • Research Assistant
Description
  • July 2018 – July 2019 (L. Andreu).
April 2018 - June 2018
Autonomous University of Barcelona
Position
  • Research Assistant
Description
  • April – June 2018 (J. Llisterri).
September 2016 - August 2020
Autonomous University of Barcelona
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
Description
  • Llenguatges i contextos II - lengua española (103700): 2016/17 - 2019/20. Expresión escrita - lengua española (100019): 2017/18 - 2018/19.
Education
September 2019 - June 2026
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
Field of study
  • Computer Science, Multimedia and Telecommunications
September 2008 - November 2012
University Pompeu Fabra
Field of study
  • Linguistic Communication and Multilingual Mediation
September 2007 - September 2008
University of Barcelona
Field of study
  • Cognitive Science and Linguistics

Publications

Publications (52)
Article
Full-text available
While several studies have investigated the temporal relationship between co-speech gestures and prosodic structure, little is known about their potential interaction at the level of their encoding of pragmatic meaning. Here we report the results of two complementary intonation-gesture matching tasks which investigate the potential co-dependencies...
Article
Full-text available
Although intonation has been traditionally associated with the expression of attitudes and intentions on the part of the speaker, little is known about whether sociopragmatic factors, such as power or social distance, or situational ones, like physical distance or insistence, can constrain the use and felicity of pitch contours. This article invest...
Article
Languages employ different strategies to mark an utterance as a polar (yes–no) question, including syntax, intonation and gestures. This study analyzes the production and perception of information-seeking questions and broad focus statements in Dutch and Catalan. These languages use intonation for marking questionhood, but Dutch also exploits synta...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents the results of an experimental investigation that looks into the acceptability and interpretation judgements that Basque native speakers give to sentences with multiple i -/ bat ere indefinites in declarative sentences. It is argued that Basque i -/ bat ere indefinites are Polarity Items (PIs) rather than Negative Concord Items...
Article
This paper focuses on the interpretation of what has been considered an expletive marker in the grammar of the Greek nominal domain: the plural number of mass nouns. We present the results of an experimental investigation on the interpretation of plural mass nouns by native speakers of this language, and we propose a speech act analysis according t...
Article
The article compares the interpretation of singular topical nominals in Romance (Catalan) and Slavic (Russian), and its relation to the presence/absence of the article in the overt morphosyntax. The empirical study, presented in this paper, confirmed the theoretical prediction that in Catalan the presence of a definite article conveys uniqueness of...
Article
Full-text available
This article focuses on the interpretation of the adjectives that appear in Greek polydefinite DP s. It provides empirical support to the established position that restrictive modifiers are preferred in polydefinite environments (Kolliakou 1995). At the same time, it shows that non-restrictively modified polydefinites are not excluded by grammar (M...
Chapter
Full-text available
This paper presents an experimental investigation aimed at determining the exact nature of the relationship between type of interpretation (definite or indefinite) and linear position (pre- or postverbal) of bare nominal subjects of intransitive predicates in Russian. The results of our experiment confirm that preverbal position correlates with a d...
Article
Full-text available
The study examines the phonetic modelling of declination, a measure that relates the F0 contour with the temporal properties, in a corpus of speech of young adults with Down Syndrome (DS) in order to provide reasonable interpretations of the subjective evaluation of monotonous speech that is usually attributed to this group. The acoustic analysis o...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this paper is to investigate experimentally the mismatches in the interpretation of Mandarin Chinese (MC) argumental negative expressions (namely, méi(yǒu)rén ‘no one’ and méi(yǒu)shénme ‘nothing’) when they are used as fragment answers to negative wh-questions. The acoustic correlates that characterize these fragment answers are identif...
Article
This article presents an experimental study of the correlation between the linear syntactic position and the interpretation of plural bare nominal external arguments of intransitive verbs in Russian. We present two experiments (pilot and main), where participants gave their acceptability judgements regarding sentences with pre- and postverbal subje...
Article
Full-text available
Although intonation has been traditionally claimed to be a strong indicator of the epistemic commitments of the participants in a discourse, very few empirical investigations have addressed specific semantic hypotheses related to the precise epistemic contribution of question intonation to utterance interpretation. The main aim of this paper is to...
Article
Full-text available
This paper reports the results of an experimental investigation designed to test the interpretation of the optional doubling of the negative markers no and pas in Expletive Negation (EN) contexts and in preverbal Negative Concord Items (NCI) contexts in Catalan. We show that in EN contexts a negative interpretation of no is preferred to an expletiv...
Article
Full-text available
Though the positive effects of iconic gestures on word recall and comprehension by children have been clearly established, less is known about the benefits of beat gestures (rhythmic hand/arm movements produced together with prominent prosody). This study investigated (a) whether beat gestures combined with prosodic information help children recall...
Article
Although contemporary linguistic studies routinely use unacceptable sentences to determine the boundary of what falls outside the scope of grammar, investigations far more rarely take into consideration the possible interpretations of such sentences, perhaps because these interpretations are commonly prejudged as irrelevant or unreliable across spe...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Este artículo introduce diferentes conceptos y estrategias sobre diseño experimental y análisis estadístico que serán de utilidad para el investigador en lingüística que se encuentre en sus primeros años de carrera. Asimismo, se ponen ejemplos de experimentos de producción y de percepción y se establecen los rasgos principales que permiten distingu...
Conference Paper
https://publicacions.iec.cat/PopulaFitxa.do?moduleName=&subModuleName=&idCatalogacio=29808
Article
Full-text available
Research in the past few decades has claimed that high or rising fundamental frequency (F0) signals a set of meanings related to the expression of politeness (e.g., deference, submission or lack of confidence (Gussenhoven, 2004; Ohala, 1984)). In this regard, the Frequency Code has been proposed to explain the universal tendency for high pitch to b...
Article
Full-text available
This study examines the influence of the position of prosodic heads (accented syllables) and prosodic edges (prosodic word and intonational phrase boundaries) on the timing of head movements. Gesture movements and prosodic events tend to be temporally aligned in the discourse, the most prominent part of gestures typically being aligned with prosodi...
Article
The use of evidential and epistemic marking as a rhetorical strategy has received little attention in the literature. Speakers often make judgments on the basis of perceptual, reported, or inferred evidence, thus the relationship between epistemicity and evidentiality is often close and difficult to demarcate. However, whereas epistemicity involves...
Article
This study investigates how epistemic stance is encoded and perceived in face-to-face communication when language is regarded as comprised by speech and gesture. Two studies were conducted with this goal in mind. The first study consisted of a production task in which participants performed opinion reports. Results showed that speakers communicate...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The main aim of this paper is to test the claim that intonation plays an important role in the specification of dynamic epistemic commitments, i.e., speaker commitments to the speaker's own proposition and to the addressee's propositions. In an acceptability judgment task, 119 Central Catalan listeners were asked to rate the perceived degree of acc...
Chapter
This study focuses on the interaction between prosody and syntax in the interpretation of single negation and Double Negation in two Negative Concord languages, namely Catalan and Spanish. By means of two perception experiments, we investigate the role of two major formal conditions in the interpretation of Double Negation in Catalan and Spanish an...
Article
Speech prosody has traditionally been analyzed in terms of acoustic features. Although visual features have been shown to enhance linguistic processing, the conventional view is that facial and body gesture information in oral (non-signed) languages tends to be redundant and has the role of helping the hearer recover the meaning of an utterance. Th...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
There is an increasing consensus to regard gesture and speech as parts of an integrated communication system, in part because of the findings related to their temporal coordination at different levels. In general, results for different types of gestures show that the most prominent part of the gesture (the apex) is typically aligned with accented s...
Article
One of the unresolved issues in the field of intonational phonology is whether pitch accent range differences are used by languages to express discrete linguistic distinctions. In Catalan, as in some other Romance languages, a rising-falling nuclear pitch contour – i.e. a rising pitch accent associated with the utterance-final stressed syllable fol...
Article
This study investigates the link between interrogative intonation and meaning in child-directed speech (henceforth CDS) and how this is reflected in the early development of yes-no-interrogatives of Catalan- and Spanish-speaking children. Previous research found that children before the two-word period produce several types of interrogatives and th...
Article
One of the challenges of child language research is to identify the rele-vant factors that play a role in the acquisition course of a particular linguistic feature. This article analyzes the role of stress, word position, and word length in the acquisition of coda consonants by Catalan and Spanish children. The fact that the two languages differ su...
Article
The phenomenon of double negation (DN), by which two negative elements negate each other in such a way that a positive interpretation is obtained, has traditionally been considered in terms of its syntactic and semantic grammatical properties. Yet, correlated prosodic and gestural features exist, such as specific pitch contours and gestures which p...
Article
The neural representation of segmental and tonal phonological distinctions has been shown by means of the MMN ERP, yet this is not the case for intonational discourse contrasts. In Catalan, a rising-falling intonational sequence can be perceived as a statement or as a counterexpectational question, depending exclusively on the size of the pitch ran...
Article
One of the unresolved questions in audiovisual prosody is the relative contribution of acoustic and visual cues to the expression of prosodic meaning. Though the majority of studies on audiovisual prosody have found a complementary mode of processing whereby sight provides relatively weak and redundant information in comparison with strong auditory...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The precise nature of the interaction between acoustic and visual information in the perception of prosodic information is a question that still remains unclear. Though the fuzzy logical model of perception (FLMP) has been shown to explain the recognition of segmental information, this model also needs to be tested in the field of suprasegmentals s...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Languages rely on many verbal and nonverbal sources for the expression of uncertainty, and these linguistic markers are used by hearers to detect degrees of uncertainty in natural communication. An important question is whether the perception of uncertainty is better chracterized by lexical marking, prosody or facial gestures. To test this, a group...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Speech prosody has traditionally been analyzed in terms of acoustic features. Even though visual features and gestures have been shown to help and enhance linguistic processing, the conventional view is that facial and body gesture information in oral (non-sign) languages tends to be redundant and has the role of helping the hearer recover the mean...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Previous work on Catalan intonation suggests that differences in the scaling of the final boundary tone (low vs. mid) can signal degrees of certainty, that is, whether speakers are confident about what they are saying (Prieto, 2002; Prieto & Cabré, 2007-2010). Fig. 1 shows the intonational schema for the statement De Mòdena 'From Modena' produced r...
Article
Full-text available
Se sap que la freqüència d'exposició a les codes sil·làbiques en una determinada llengua n'afavoreix l'adquisició. Català i castellà difereixen substancialment en la distribució de les codes a través del lexicó (el català en té moltes més en posició final accentuada: veg. esp. caballo, cat. cavall). Aquest article investiga aquest procés d'adquisic...
Article
Full-text available
Este estudio analiza la entonación y la función pragmática de las oraciones interrogativas del español en un corpus de habla dirigida a niños. Se analizaron prosódicamente un total de 347 oraciones interrogativas absolutas, 243 del corpus López-Ornat y Mariscal (2005) y 104 del corpus Ojea y Llinàs-Grau (2004), ambos disponibles en el sitio web CHI...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
El camp de la prosòdia ha vist augmentar significativament el nombre d'aproximacions i metodologies interdisciplinàries que integren experimentació conductual i estudis neurofisiològics. Entre aquests nous paradigmes hi trobem anàlisis acústiques i articulatòries de la parla, judicis i temps de reacció obtinguts en tasques d'identificació, discrimi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In Catalan, the same rising nuclear pitch accent L+H* is used in three different sentence-types, namely statements, contrastive foci, and echo questions. Since the peak height of the rising pitch accent seems to indicate sentence type, we hypothesized that these three pragmatic meanings would be differentiated by pitch accent range. We undertook tw...
Poster
Full-text available
Large prosodically labeled corpora are needed to make real progress in understanding the prosodic mechanisms that dominate the spoken communication between humans. ToBI is a framework to develop community-wide conventions to transcribe the intonation and prosodic structure of spoken utterances in a language variety. This fine-grained labeling syste...

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Projects

Projects (8)
Project
To gain knowledge about the prosodic traits in speech produced by people with Down Syndrome. Perceptual and acoustic measurements are based on the PRAUTOCAL corpus.
Archived project
PATHWAY project focuses on the ‘Internationalization at home’ experience, launched in September 2012 within the English-Medium Primary Education Bachelor's Degree offered by the Faculty of Education at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). The project aims, on the one hand, to document and explore the processes of integrated learning that emerge from EMI-PEBD classrooms (building on the proposals for innovation that are presented to students), and on the other, to evaluate the results of those processes. More specifically, the goals of the PATHWAY project are the following: 1. To determine the influence of the instruction language (English vs. Catalan) on the development of students' linguistic competence in Catalan and English. 2. To design pedagogical interventions focused on the development of students' oral competences, i.e. speaking and interaction. 3. To explore the stakeholders' views (students and teaching staff) on the EMI-PEBD with the aim to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the degree and, simultaneously, to track the evolution of students’ identities and self-perceptions as learners of English and future teachers. 4. To guide and document the development of the CLIL component in the EMI-PEBD Practicum for fourth-year generalist teachers.
Archived project
This project investigates (a) whether non-referential beat gestures combined with prosodic information help children recall focused information in a child-directed discourse, as well as information related to it (Experiment 1) and (b) whether the presence of non-referential beat gestures helps children understand the content of a narrative (Experiment 2).