Pilar Prieto

Pilar Prieto
University Pompeu Fabra | UPF · Department of Translation and Language Sciences

PhD

About

250
Publications
74,118
Reads
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5,119
Citations
Additional affiliations
September 2009 - present
Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies
Position
  • ICREA Research Professor
January 2009 - present
University Pompeu Fabra
Position
  • ICREA Research Professor

Publications

Publications (250)
Article
Pragmatics lies at the point where language meets the social world and encompasses both the linguistic and the social dimensions of communication. However, the relationship between pragmatic abilities, other language skills, and socio-cognitive aspects such as mentalizing is still a matter of wide debate. This study sets out to investigate the stat...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Musical perception skills have been shown to influence second language speech production. Likewise, working memory may also affect nonnative speech production abilities. However, very few studies have assessed their respective role in speech imitation abilities. The present study thus investigates the predictive role of musical perception skills an...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Research on prosodic development has mostly focused on infants' skills, and there is much less research on preschool and older children's prosodic abilities and in particular on the advanced pragmatic uses of prosody (i.e., pragmatic prosody). The present cross-sectional study assesses children's expressive pragmatic prosody profiles in three devel...
Article
Full-text available
Bien qu’il ne soit aujourd’hui plus question de « supprimer » l’accent étranger d’un apprenant (Derwing & Munro, 2009), des recherches ont montré que tant les erreurs segmentales (Isaacs & Trofimovich, 2012) que les erreurs suprasegmentales (Derwin et al., 1998) influencent les évaluations de compréhensibilité et de fluence des apprenants. Par cons...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Training L2 suprasegmental features benefits pronunciation accuracy and comprehensibility, especially through the use of hand gestures. However, studies have mainly looked at the effect of prosodic training in controlled tasks and less is known about spontaneous speech. The present study explores the effect of prosodic training with and without ges...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Research shows that musical expertise benefits second language (L2) phonological learning [1], however little is known on the potential effects of training musical melodic and rhythmic skills on language production skills. This study investigated the role of training musical features such as melody, rhythm, and accent with embodied activities [2] (...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Public speaking is essential in our daily life. However, standing in front of a crowd is more often than not challenging for people. VR simulations can help speakers meet this challenge. Our study employed a between-subjects design with a VR group (N=17) and a Non-VR group (N=14). Both groups gave a 2-minute speech in front of a live audience befor...
Article
With increasing evidence in favour of embodied learning techniques, more research is needed to explore eventual applications in the field of second language acquisition, for example, the effect of embodied training on phonological learning. This study investigated how pronunciation was affected by visuospatial hand gestures depicting speech rhythm...
Article
Full-text available
While recent studies have claimed that non-referential gestures (i.e., gestures that do not visually represent any semantic content in speech) are used to mark discourse-new and/or-accessible referents and focused information in adult speech, to our knowledge, no prior investigation has studied the relationship between information structure (IS) an...
Article
The widely cited frequency code hypothesis attempts to explain a diverse range of communicative phenomena through the acoustic projection of body size. The set of phenomena includes size sound symbolism (using /i/ to signal smallness in words such as teeny ), intonational phonology (using rising contours to signal questions) and the indexing of soc...
Article
Full-text available
Over recent decades much research has analyzed the relevance of 9- to 20- month-old infants’ early imitation skills (object- and language-based imitation) for language development. Yet there have been few systematic comparisons of the joint relevance of these imitative behaviors later on in development. This correlational study investigated whether...
Article
Research on gesture production has emphasized the strong relationship between speech and gesture. Studies have explored whether the inability to gesture is detrimental to speech at different levels. However, findings are still inconclusive and research that focuses on a complete set of acoustic prosodic measures, including F0 and intensity are lack...
Article
Full-text available
While it is well known that prosodic features are central in the conveyance of pragmatic meaning across languages, developmental research has assessed a narrow set of pragmatic functions of prosody. Research on prosodic development has focused on early infancy, with the subsequent preschool ages and beyond having received less attention. This study...
Article
This study investigates the impact of embodied training of pronunciation with visuospatial hand gestures cueing Mandarin aspirated plosives. Sixty-seven Catalan participants learned to pronounce and memorised novel Mandarin words containing non-native aspirated plosives with or without performing hand gestures. They were tested on perception, produ...
Article
Full-text available
A longitudinal study with 45 children (Hispanic, 13%; non-Hispanic, 87%) investigated whether the early production of non-referential beat and flip gestures, as opposed to referential iconic gestures, in parent-child naturalistic interactions from 14 to 58 months old predicts narrative abilities at age 5. Results revealed that only non-referential...
Article
Full-text available
Speakers produce both referential gestures, which depict properties of a referent, and non-referential gestures, which lack semantic content. While a large number of studies have demonstrated the cognitive and linguistic benefits of referential gestures as well as their precursor and predictive role in both typically developing (TD) and non-TD chil...
Article
This study tested the effects of hand-clapping to the rhythm of newly learned French words on the pronunciation of these words by 7-to 8-year-old Catalan children. In a short training experiment with a pre-and posttest design, 28 children either repeated cognate words in French (e.g. French aspirateur, Catalan aspirador 'vacuum cleaner') while clap...
Article
The present study explored whether listening to songs and singing can improve second language pronunciation and vocabulary learning at beginning stages of language acquisition. One hundred and eight Chinese students underwent a 4‐min training session to learn 14 words from a meaningful French song about the parts of the body in either one of two co...
Article
Full-text available
For years, linguists have noted that intonation patterns and discourse markers encode similar pragmatic meanings across languages. The present study investigates whether a functional compensatory distribution can be documented across languages by focusing on the expression of epistemic commitment in two Romance languages which have been reported to...
Article
This study investigates the effectiveness of training preschoolers in order to enhance their social cognition and pragmatic skills. Eighty-three 3–4-year-olds were divided into three groups and listened to stories enriched with mental state terms. Then, whereas the control group engaged in non-reflective activities, the two experimental groups were...
Chapter
The prosodic systems of Basque, Catalan, Portuguese, and Spanish have recently yielded a great deal of detailed work that has contributed to comprehensive descriptions of the different languages and language varieties. Taking a comparative stance, as in Frota and Prieto (2015b) for three Romance languages and Elordieta and Hualde (2014) for Basque,...
Article
Purpose Research has shown that observing hand gestures mimicking pitch movements or rhythmic patterns can improve the learning of second language (L2) suprasegmental features. However, less is known about the effects of hand gestures on the learning of novel phonemic contrasts. This study examines (a) whether hand gestures mimicking phonetic featu...
Article
Full-text available
Previous work has shown how native listeners benefit from observing iconic gestures during speech comprehension tasks of both degraded and non-degraded speech. By contrast, effects of the use of gestures in non-native listener populations are less clear and studies have mostly involved iconic gestures. The current study aims to complement these fin...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Gestures are harbingers of children's linguistic steps. Further in development, evidence has demonstrated that using iconic character-viewpoint gestures when performing more complex linguistic discourses (e.g., narratives) can predict better-structured, complete goal-based stories. However, previous studies have not assessed and compared the develo...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
While recent studies have shown a relationship between rhythmic perceptual abilities and second language pronunciation talent, less is known about the effects of rhythmic production abilities. This study investigates whether accurately performing hand-clapping has an effect on foreign language imitation ability. Participants were 25 Chinese adolesc...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Gestures can be described in various terms including their form, their relationship to spoken prosody, their semantic relationship with an utterance, or their pragmatic functions (see [1] for a review). However, McNeill's [2] classic descriptive types, with referential categories (iconic, metaphoric and deictic) distinct from a rhythmic category (b...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper compares the results of two complementary experiments exploring the effects of training with gesture observation (Experiment 1) and gesture production (Experiment 2) on L2 pronunciation learning. Importantly, this study controls for the appropriateness of the gestures performed by learners during the production training and its effect on...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Children from 5 to 6 years of age have been shown to start producing non-referential beat gestures in narrative speech. However, it still remains unclear how the use of these non-referential gestures along with referential iconic gestures evolves over time in children’s narrative discourse, and how the temporal integration between gestures and pros...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This study investigates the effects of simultaneously performing hand gestures on the accuracy of pronunciation during L2 speech imitation focusing on the appropriateness of gesture performance. Fifty-five Catalan-speakers without any knowledge of Mandarin imitated Mandarin words contrasting only in aspiration. The target words containing the aspir...
Article
Full-text available
Gesture is an integral part of language development. While recent evidence shows that observing a speaker who is simultaneously producing beat gestures helps preschoolers remember and understand information and also improves the production of oral narratives, little is known about the potential value of encouraging children to produce beat gestures...
Article
Despite the evidence that infants are sensitive to facial cues and prosody for the detection of emotion, we have contradictory evidence regarding the use of these cues by older preschool and school children when inferring both emotional and politeness stance. This study assessed preschool aged children’s sensitivity to intonational and facial cues...
Article
Full-text available
Els estudis sobre desenvolupament del llenguatge típicament s'han centrat en l'anàlisi de la parla. Tanmateix, hi ha altres elements comunicatius que són una peça fonamental en la comunicació i cognició humanes: els gestos. Aquests elements visuals estan íntimament integrats amb la parla des del punt de vista temporal i des del punt de vista semant...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Previous work has shown the positive effect of encouraging gestures in performing various tasks; in these studies, the participants generally appeared to gesture more when explicitly asked to do it. However, little attention has been paid to whether encouraging gestures also affects other gesture features, i.e., gesture type and salience. In this p...
Article
Purpose Previous studies have investigated the effects of the inability to produce hand gestures on speakers' prosodic features of speech; however, the potential effects of encouraging speakers to gesture have received less attention, especially in naturalistic settings. This study aims at investigating the effects of encouraging the production of...
Article
Children achieve their first language milestones initially in gesture and prosody before they do so in speech. However, little is known about the potential precursor role of those features later in development when children start using more complex linguistic skills. In this study, we explore how children’s ability to reflect on their degree of unc...
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
Children might combine gesture and prosody to express a pragmatic meaning such as a request, information focus, uncertainty or politeness, before they can convey these meanings in speech. However, little is known about the developmental trajectories of gestural and prosodic patterns and how they relate to a child's growing understanding and proposi...
Article
Full-text available
Gesture and prosody are considered to be important precursors in early language development. In the present study, we ask whether those cues play a similar role later in children's acquisition of more complex pragmatic skills, such as politeness. 64 three- to five-year-old Catalan-dominant children participated in a request production task in four...
Article
Recent studies on the learning of L2 prosody have suggested that pitch gestures can enhance the learning of the L2 lexical tones. Yet it remains unclear whether the use of these gestures can aid the learning of L2 intonation, especially by tonal-language speakers. Sixty-four Mandarin speakers with basic-level Spanish were asked to learn three Spani...
Article
This study examines the acquisition process of speech rhythm in Dutch learners of Spanish (DLS) and Spanish learners of Dutch (SLD) at different proficiency levels to determine whether learning direction affects the success of rhythm acquisition in a foreign language (L2). Analyses of lengthening effects showed that the two learner groups followed...
Article
Full-text available
Iconic and pointing gestures are important precursors of children’s early language and cognitive development. While beat gestures seem to have positive effects on the recall of information by preschoolers, little is known about the potential beneficial effects of observing beat gestures on the development of children’s narrative performance. We tes...
Book
Prosodic development is increasingly recognized as a fundamental stepping stone in first language acquisition. Prosodic sensitivity starts developing very early, with newborns becoming attuned to the prosodic properties of the ambient language, and it continues to develop during childhood until early adolescence. In the last decades, a flourishing...
Article
Though research has shown that rhythmic training is beneficial for phonological speech processing, little empirical work has been carried out to assess whether rhythmic training in the classroom can help to improve pronunciation in a second language. This study tests the potential benefits of hand-clapping to the rhythm of newly learned French word...
Article
Full-text available
This article investigates how children leverage intonational and gestural cues to an individual’s belief state through unimodal (intonation-only or facial gesture-only) and multimodal (intonation + facial gesture) cues. A total of 187 preschoolers (ages 3–5) participated in a disbelief comprehension task and were assessed for Theory of Mind (ToM) a...
Article
This study investigates the perception and production of a specific type of metaphoric gesture that mimics melody in speech, also called pitch gesture , in the learning of L2 suprasegmental features. In a between-subjects design, a total of 106 participants with no previous knowledge of Chinese were asked to observe (Experiment 1) and produce (Expe...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Previous research has shown that rhythmic training enhances phonological speech processing, yet little is known about whether rhythmic training can also help to improve pronunciation in a second language. This study tests the potential benefits of hand-clapping to the rhythm of newly learned French words for the acquisition of pronunciation pattern...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The aim of this study is to assess whether a brief training with rhythmic beat gestures helps L2 pronunciation in a reading aloud task with high school students. In a between-subjects pretest-posttest design, a total of 59 high school students were randomly assigned to one of the following two conditions: the beat gesture group and no-beat gesture...
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...
Chapter
This chapter reviews evidence on how infants up to 18 months of age develop the ability to use prosody as a sign of the expression of pragmatic meanings, from both a comprehension and a production point of view. Developmental research reveals that pre-lexical infants use prosodic information not only to comprehend emotions in the speech of their co...
Preprint
Full-text available
Despite the evidence that infants are sensitive to facial cues and prosody for the detection of emotion, we have contradictory evidence regarding the use of these cues by older preschool and school children when inferring both emotional and politeness stance. This study assessed preschool aged children's sensitivity to intonational and facial cues...
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
While recent research has shown that iconic gestures and the so-called pitch gestures (or gestures that mimic melody in speech) favour word learning in a second language, little is known about (a) the potential benefits of beat gestures (or hand gestures that accompany prosodic prominence) for second language novel word learning, and (b) the contri...
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
This paper investigates the role of intonation in the marking of directly-perceived information in Majorcan Catalan polar questions. We conducted a perception experiment in which a total of 72 participants were introduced to a set of twins who were exposed to different types of evidence for a given p(roposition). One twin inferred p based on direct...
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...