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Abstract

Recent studies in the field of intonational phonology have shown that information-seeking questions can be distinguished from confirmation-seeking questions by prosodic means in a variety of languages (Armstrong, 2010, for Puerto Rican Spanish; Grice & Savino, 1997, for Bari Italian; Kügler, 2003, for Leipzig German; Mata & Santos, 2010, for European Portuguese; Vanrell, Mascaró, Prieto, & Torres-Tamarit, 2010, for Catalan). However, all these studies have relied on production experiments and little is known about the perceptual relevance of these intonational cues. This paper explores whether Majorcan Catalan listeners distinguish information- and confirmation-seeking questions by means of two distinct nuclear falling pitch accents. Three behavioral tasks were conducted with 20 Majorcan Catalan subjects, namely a semantic congruity test, a rating test, and a classical categorical perception identification/discrimination test. The results show that a difference in pitch scaling on the leading H tone of the H+L* nuclear pitch accent is the main cue used by Majorcan Catalan listeners to distinguish confirmation questions from information-seeking questions. Thus, while a iH+L* pitch accent signals an information-seeking question (i.e., the speaker has no expectation about the nature of the answer), the H+L* pitch accent indicates that the speaker is asking about mutually shared information. We argue that these results have implications in representing the distinctions of tonal height in Catalan. The results also support the claim that phonological contrasts in intonation, together with other linguistic strategies, can signal the speakers' beliefs about the certainty of the proposition expressed.

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... The authors also found that Bari Italian speakers use a L+H* accent in which the peak is higher than the peak of the same pitch accent observed in unbiased contexts to signal that the speaker believes the content of the proposition to be false (Savino & Grice, 2007). Vanrell et al. (2013) also showed that a difference in pitch scaling could signal speaker commitment in Majorcan Catalan. Specifically, they found that the scaling of the leading H tone of the H+L* pitch accent indicates the contrast between information-seeking questions and confirmationseeking questions. ...
... Note that the distinction between the two types of questions has been described with a wide range of labels. When the information is new (i.e., unknown to the speaker at the time of the asking of the question) so that the speaker has no particular bias with respect to his/her interlocutor's answer, questions have been mainly referred to in the literature as "queries" (e.g., Carletta et al. 1997;Grice & Savino, 1997;Savino & Grice, 2011) or information-seeking questions (e.g., Armstrong, 2010;Vanrell et al., 2013). On the other hand, when the speaker refers to previouslymentioned information and when he/she is biased towards the expected answer, questions have been mainly referred to as "checks" or "confirmation seeking-questions for positive bias" (i.e., the speaker is asking for the confirmation of shared information) or "objects for negative bias" (i.e., the speaker is challenging what has been said; Savino & Grice, 2011;Vanrell et al., 2013). ...
... When the information is new (i.e., unknown to the speaker at the time of the asking of the question) so that the speaker has no particular bias with respect to his/her interlocutor's answer, questions have been mainly referred to in the literature as "queries" (e.g., Carletta et al. 1997;Grice & Savino, 1997;Savino & Grice, 2011) or information-seeking questions (e.g., Armstrong, 2010;Vanrell et al., 2013). On the other hand, when the speaker refers to previouslymentioned information and when he/she is biased towards the expected answer, questions have been mainly referred to as "checks" or "confirmation seeking-questions for positive bias" (i.e., the speaker is asking for the confirmation of shared information) or "objects for negative bias" (i.e., the speaker is challenging what has been said; Savino & Grice, 2011;Vanrell et al., 2013). Here, we use the terms unbiased questions for "queries" and "information-seeking questions" and biased questions for questions such as "checks", "confirmation seeking questions". ...
Article
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Recent studies on a variety of languages have shown that a speaker’s commitment to the propositional content of his or her utterance can be encoded, among other strategies, by pitch accent types. Since prior research mainly relied on lexical-stress languages, our understanding of how speakers of a non-lexical-stress language encode speaker commitment is limited. This paper explores the contribution of the last pitch accent of an intonation phrase to convey speaker commitment in French, a language that has stress at the phrasal level as well as a restricted set of pitch accents. In a production experiment, participants had to produce sentences in two pragmatic contexts: unbiased questions (the speaker had no particular belief with respect to the expected answer) and negatively biased questions (the speaker believed the proposition to be false). Results revealed that negatively biased questions consistently exhibited an additional unaccented F0 peak in the preaccentual syllable (an H+!H* pitch accent) while unbiased questions were often realized with a rising pattern across the accented syllable (an H* pitch accent). These results provide evidence that pitch accent types in French can signal the speaker’s belief about the certainty of the proposition expressed in French. It also has implications for the phonological model of French intonation.
... The lack of a methodological consensus is even more evident if one reviews recent studies in the field. For example, if we focus on studies that present the results of identification tests (like Ladd & Morton, 1997;Remijsen & van Heuven, 1999;Post, 2000;Chen, 2003;Schneider & Linftert, 2003;Cummins, Doherty, & Dilley, 2006;Falé & Hub Faria, 2006;Schneider, Dogil, & Möbius, 2009;Dilley, 2010;Vanrell et al., 2013;Vanrell, Armstrong & Prieto, 2017, among several others), we observe that the authors have taken different methodological decisions. In some cases, chance level is not considered. ...
... In order to give an example of how ChaLeT can help the researchers interpret their results, in this section, we replicate in a simplified way an identification test presented in a well-known study about Catalan intonation (Vanrell et al., 2013) and we apply ChaLeT to the results. Vanrell et al. (2013) show that Majorcan Catalan listeners distinguish information and confirmation seeking questions by means of two distinct nuclear falling pitch accents, which are represented schematically in Figure 1. ...
... In order to give an example of how ChaLeT can help the researchers interpret their results, in this section, we replicate in a simplified way an identification test presented in a well-known study about Catalan intonation (Vanrell et al., 2013) and we apply ChaLeT to the results. Vanrell et al. (2013) show that Majorcan Catalan listeners distinguish information and confirmation seeking questions by means of two distinct nuclear falling pitch accents, which are represented schematically in Figure 1. In order to carry out an identification test, the researchers manipulated F0 to create a continuum between the two stimuli. ...
Chapter
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This paper presents ChaLeT, an R script that can be used to determine statistically whether answers given by listeners in a perception test are above chance level. The script has been designed for perception tests where listeners have to choose between two categories. The script makes use of the binomial test of statistical significance to determine the chance level. It then plots the results of the perception test on a chart where coloured ribbons signal the interval where answers are below the chance level.
... To the best of our knowledge, analyses of Spanish polar question intonation, and of Ibero-Romance polar question intonation more generally, do not consider how speakers attribute thoughts in asking questions. For Spanish especially, one prevailing pragmatic distinction that researchers use for understanding polar question intonation is the information-seeking vs. confirmation-seeking dichotomy (e.g., Prieto & Roseano, 2010;Vanrell, Mascaró, Prieto, & Torres-Tamarit, 2013). This distinction was put forth originally in the classic work of Bolinger (1989), and some recent adaptations are shown in Table 3. ...
... Information-seeking Speaker believes the information being asked about is neither directly nor indirectly recoverable in any way, i.e., new information (Grice & Savino, 1997); speaker has no bias with respect to the answer he/she expects (Vanrell, Ballone, Prieto, & Schirru, 2014) Confirmation-seeking Questions are about information which the speaker believes has already been conveyed, i.e., given information (Grice & Savino, 2003); questions for which the speaker has some bias based on beliefs, expectations, world knowledge or information that has become available in the discourse context (Vanrell et al., 2013) represents a useful starting point for understanding the intonational system of one language variety, a disadvantage is that the questionnaire elicits one token each of multiple sentence types, and an important requirement of the current research design was to gather a large quantity of polar question contours, to the extent possible. Results from recent sociophonetic research help to underscore the need to collect intonational data in spontaneous or semi-spontaneous speaking conditions. ...
... Research on intonation, especially within the autosegmental-metrical framework of intonational phonology (AM), is by now quite extensive and encompassing an increasingly large number of languages (Jun, 2005(Jun, , 2014; for reviews see e.g., Gussenhoven, 2004;Ladd, 2008;Arvaniti, in press). Intonational meaning, however, has not received as much attention as the phonetics and phonology of intonation (but see Gunlogson, 2003;Vanrell, Mascaró, Torres-Tamarit, & Prieto, 2013;Armstrong & Prieto, 2015;Brown & Prieto, 2017). Here we provide evidence that contributes to this new understanding of the importance of studying the pragmatics of intonation alongside its phonology and phonetics. ...
... They further show that additional inferences can be drawn from intonation, for example, including inferences related to politeness (cf. Brown & Prieto, 2017;Astruc, Vanrell, & Prieto, 2016;Vanrell, Mascaró, Torres-Tamarit, & Prieto, 2013). Finally, our data show that the role of the addressee is paramount in understanding intonational meaning because these inferences are not totally deterministic: it is possible for the addressee to disregard the contribution of the tune and base their interpretation on pragmatic factors and the propositional content of the question. ...
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We experimentally tested three hypotheses regarding the pragmatics of two tunes (one high-ending, one flat-ending) used with Greek wh-questions: (a) the high-ending tune is associated with information-seeking questions, while the flat-ending tune is also appropriate when wh-questions are not information-seeking, in which case their function can instead be akin to that of a statement; (b) the high-ending tune is more polite, and (c) more appropriate for contexts leading to information-seeking questions. The wh-questions used as experimental stimuli were elicited from four speakers in contexts likely to lead to either information-seeking or non-information-seeking uses. The speakers produced distinct tunes in response to the contexts; acoustic analysis indicates these are best analysed as L*+H L-!H% (rising), and L+H* L-L% (flat). In a perception experiment where participants heard the questions out of context, they chose answers providing information significantly more frequently after high-ending than flat-ending questions, confirming hypothesis (a). In a second experiment testing hypotheses (b) and (c), participants evaluated wh-questions for appropriateness and politeness in information- and non-information-seeking contexts. High-ending questions were rated more appropriate in information-seeking contexts, and more polite independently of context relative to their flat-ending counterparts. Finally, two follow-up experiments showed that the interpretation of the two tunes was not affected by voice characteristics of individual speakers, and confirmed a participant preference for the high-ending tune. Overall, the results support our hypotheses and lead to a compositional analysis of the meaning of the two tunes, while also showing that intonational meaning is determined by both tune and pragmatic context.
... Unlike in EP, in Majorcan Catalan phonetic differences in peak height in the H+L* nuclear fall have been reported to be systematically related to the distinction between information-seeking and confirmation-seeking yes-no questions Vanrell, 2011;Vanrell et al., 2012). While both types of questions are characterized by a falling nuclear pitch accent H+L*, the information-seeking question has a higher (upstepped) H tone (Figure 8, left panel) and the confirmation-seeking question a lower (non-upstepped) H tone (Figure 8, right panel). ...
... While both types of questions are characterized by a falling nuclear pitch accent H+L*, the information-seeking question has a higher (upstepped) H tone (Figure 8, left panel) and the confirmation-seeking question a lower (non-upstepped) H tone (Figure 8, right panel). In addition to production evidence for an intonational contrast in peak height, evidence from perception shows that Majorcan Catalan listeners distinguish information-and confirmation-seeking questions on the basis of the difference in pitch scaling of the peak (Vanrell et al., 2012). These results indicate that the peak height difference in Majorcan Catalan nuclear falls is a scaling contrast phonologically encoded in the intonation system by means of two distinct pitch accents (¡H+L* and H+L*). ...
Article
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Intonation is the phonologically structured variation in phonetic features, primarily pitch, to express phrase-level meanings. As in other speech sound domains, analyzing intonation involves mapping continuously variable physical parameters to categories. The categories of intonation are organized in a set of relations and rule-governed distributions that defne the intonation system of a language. From physical realizations, as shown by pitch tracks, surface or phonetic tonal patterns can be identifed in terms of tonal targets. Whether surface patterns correspond or not to categories within a given intonation system requires looking at their distributions and contrastiveness. In this paper, I assume the view that a transcription is an analysis of the intonation system, which ultimately aims to identify the contrastive intonation categories of a given language and establish how they signal meaning. Under this view, it is crucial to discuss the ways surface pitch patterns and structural pitch patterns (or phonological categories) are related. Given that intonational analysis is driven by system-internal considerations and that cues to a given category can vary across languages, it is also important to address the issue of how a language-specifc transcription can be reconciled with the need and ability to do cross-language comparison of intonation. Bearing on these two issues, I discuss surface and structure in intonational analysis, drawing on mismatches between (dis)similarities in the phonetics and phonology of pitch contours, across languages and language varieties.
... Thus, for both languages, certainty was not itself encoded prosodically or in the choice of morpho-syntactic question type, but it strengthened the preference for encoding the checked proposition. Thereby, our results contrast with the observed prosodic marking of speaker certainty, confidence or commitment reported in many Romance languages; for example, for Bari Italian (Grice & Savino, 1995, Majorcan Catalan (Vanrell et al., 2013), French (Michelas et al., 2016), Puerto Rican Spanish (Armstrong, 2017), Central Catalan (Prieto & Borràs-Comes, 2018). Whether or not these results indicate a contrast between the West-Germanic languages English and German on the one hand and the Romance languages on the other hand is presently unclear due to differences in study design. ...
... Should future studies confirm the apparent contrast between West-Germanic and Romance languages, a possible explanation could follow from the fact that Romance languages tend to be pro-drop languages: While interrogativity can be marked by subject inversion/ dislocation, this is not possible in sentences without overt expression of subjects. As a result, sentences without overt subjects, which are frequent, must be marked as statements or questions by prosody (Escandell-Vidal, 1998Grice & Savino, 2003;Vanrell et al. 2013), and the same can be argued to apply to question bias and certainty. This could be the reason for intonation playing a more important role in this language family. ...
Article
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As first observed by Ladd in 1981, English polar questions with high negation (e.g., Aren’t they adding a menu item?) can be used both to check the speaker’s belief that the proposition p is true (e.g., p = they are adding a menu item) and to check the addressee’s belief that p is not true (¬ p). We hypothesized that this ambiguity can be disambiguated prosodically. We further hypothesized that the prosodic disambiguation is absent in German, because the checked proposition can be marked morpho-syntactically, with questions with high negation checking p and low negation questions (e.g., Are they not adding a menu item?) checking ¬ p. A production study tested these hypotheses with 24 speakers of Western Canadian English and German each (764 and 767 total utterances, respectively). The results showed that, when the speaker originally believed p and the addressee implied ¬ p, English speakers preferred questions with high negation over low negation questions, confirming Ladd’s observation, and used intonation to mark whose proposition they were checking, as hypothesized. By contrast, German speakers marked this distinction morpho-syntactically, realizing mostly questions with high negation to check their own proposition and low negation questions to check the addressee’s proposition. Their prosody, in turn, was largely determined by the morpho-syntactic question form. The study further manipulated the speaker’s certainty of the checked proposition, but, in contrast to studies on Romance languages, found that certainty itself was not marked.
... In particular, semantic judgments were employed to test the function and meaning of intonational categories (Nash and Mulac, 1980;Gussenhoven and Rietveld, 2000;Niebuhr, 2007). Semantic congruency tests were used to study tonal categories in its appropriate context (Rathcke and Harrington, 2010;Kügler and Gollrad, 2011;del Mar Vanrell et al., 2013). The present study relies on the method of semantic congruency to test the function and meaning of the rise-fall contour in its context. ...
... A series of semantic congruency tasks investigate whether German listeners use the phonetic differences shown in the production study to distinguish the rise-fall contour between contexts that elicit broad or contrastive focus. Semantic congruency tests have been successfully used to explore the perception of functional intonation contrasts (Rathcke and Harrington, 2010;Kügler and Gollrad, 2011;Prieto, 2012;del Mar Vanrell et al., 2013). The test allows us to evaluate the degree of perceived appropriateness of target intonation patterns within different pragmatic contexts. ...
Article
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This study investigates the phonetics of German nuclear rise-fall contours in relation to contexts that trigger either a contrastive or a non-contrastive interpretation in the answer. A rise-fall contour can be conceived of a tonal sequence of L-H-L. A production study elicited target sentences in contrastive and non-contrastive contexts. The majority of cases realized showed a nuclear rise-fall contour. The acoustic analysis of these contours revealed a significant effect of contrastiveness on the height/alignment of the accent peak as a function of focus context. On the other hand, the height/alignment of the low turning point at the beginning of the rise did not show an effect of contrastiveness. In a series of semantic congruency perception tests participants judged the congruency of congruent and incongruent context-stimulus pairs based on three different sets of stimuli: (i) original data, (ii) manipulation of accent peak, and (iii) manipulation of the leading low. Listeners distinguished nuclear rise-fall contours as a function of focus context (Experiment 1 and 2), however not based on manipulations of the leading low (Experiment 3). The results suggest that the alignment and scaling of the accentual peak are sufficient to license a contrastive interpretation of a nuclear rise-fall contour, leaving the rising part as a phonetic onglide, or as a low tone that does not interact with the contrastivity of the context.
... In the vocal channel, differences in a speaker's feeling of knowing typically manifest as global changes in the rate and intensity of speech (both higher when speakers are more confident) and sometimes changes in pitch (Barr, 2003;Kimble and Seidel, 1991; but see Apple et al. (1979)). When speakers ask information-seeking (Do I go to the right?) or confirmation-seeking (So I go to the right?) types of questions, the shape of the intonation contour also seems to mark their level of certainty; in general, higher confidence about what is asked is associated with falling (rather than rising) pitch accents (Kügler, 2003;Vanrell et al., 2013). This is also true of tag questions (…don't you?), which signal higher confidence about the content for which confirmation is being requested when produced with a falling pitch contour Contents lists available at ScienceDirect journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/neuropsychologia ...
... This pattern suggests delayed processing of prosody that signals a question (see also Astésano et al. (2003)). As speakers who lack confidence sometimes use vocal cues that resemble questions (Kügler, 2003;Vanrell et al., 2013), it is curious that we observed a larger positivity for lowconfidence statements (unconfident or close-to-confident) versus confident ones in the context of Paulmann et al.'s (2012) findings. Moreover, this positive response to low vs. high confidence expressions was delayed in the LEXþVOC statements ($ 900 ms) than in the VOC statements ( $ 330 ms, Jiang and Pell, 2015) for the same participants. ...
... Unlike in EP, in Majorcan Catalan peak height differences in the H+L* nuclear fall have been shown to be systematically related to the distinction between information--seeking and confirmation--seeking yes--no questions (Vanrell 2011, Vanrell, Mascaró, Torres--Tamarit & Prieto 2012 press). While both types of questions are characterized by a falling nuclear pitch accent H+L*, the information--seeking question has a higher (upstepped) H tone ( Fig. 8, left panel) and the confirmation--seeking question a lower (non-upstepped) H tone (Fig. 8, right panel). ...
... intonational contrast in peak height, corroborating evidence from perception shows that Majorcan Catalan listeners distinguish information--and confirmation--seeking questions on the basis of the difference in pitch scaling of the peak (Vanrell et al. 2012). These results indicate that the peak height difference in Majorcan Catalan nuclear falls is a scaling contrast phonologically encoded in the intonation system by means of two distinct pitch accents (¡H+L* and H+L*). ...
Research
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Intonation is the structured variation in phonetic features, namely pitch, to express phrase-level meanings. As in other speech sound domains, analyzing intonation involves mapping continuously variable physical parameters to categories. The categories of intonation – pitch accents and boundary tones – are organized in a set of relations and rule-governed distributions that define the intonation system of a language. From physical realizations, as shown by pitch tracks, surface tonal patterns can be identified in terms of tonal targets. Whether surface patterns correspond or not to categories within a given intonation system requires looking at their distributions and contrastiveness. In this paper, I assume the view that a transcription is an analysis of the intonation system, which ultimately aims to identify the contrastive intonation categories of a given language and establish how they signal meaning. Under this view, it is crucial to discuss the ways surface pitch patterns and structural pitch patterns (or categories) are related. Given that intonational analysis is driven by system-internal considerations, it is also important to address the issue of how a language-specific transcription can be reconciled with the need and ability to do cross-language comparison of intonation. Bearing on these two issues, I discuss surface and structure in intonational analysis on the basis of data from varieties of Portuguese, and other Romance languages such as Catalan, Italian and Spanish
... For questions, speakers of the Bari Italian dialect have been shown to convey their commitment by using different intonation patterns: while unmarked information-seeking questions are generally produced with a final rise, high commitment questions (also called confirmation questions) are expressed with a falling tune (Grice et al., 1997). Central Catalan and Majorcan Catalan speakers can also use different intonation patterns to distinguish between information-seeking and confirmationseeking questions (Vanrell et al., 2013;Prieto and Borr as-Comes, 2018). In a recent acceptability judgment task, Prieto and Borr as-Comes (2018) showed that a set of question intonation contours were pragmatically interpreted by Catalan listeners as epistemic operators capable of encoding (a) the speaker's commitment to the proposition expressed (e.g., low and high commitment), and (b) the speaker's agreement with the interlocutor for a given discourse (e.g., low and high agreement). ...
... Here we describe how two cross-modal matching tasks involving intonation and gesture were used to explore the mutual co-dependencies between intonation patterns that convey epistemic stance and co-speech gestures that do the same. The language involved was Catalan, a language particularly well suited for this because it has been shown to make use of clear distinctions in intonation for the expression of epistemic meanings (Vanrell et al., 2013;Prieto and Borr as-Comes, 2018). We made the two experiments complement each other by reversing the order of modalities in terms of input vs. output. ...
Article
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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 between intonation patterns related to epistemic commitment operators and their associated gestures in Catalan. In Experiment 1, participants were shown audio-muted videos in which a speaker performed gestures conveying epistemic information of certainty or uncertainty while uttering statements and questions. The subjects were then asked to produce a stipulated target word, the goal being to examine whether they would produce the word with a tune that was semantically consistent with the gestures they had seen. In Experiment 2, participants were primed by hearing intonation patterns conveying epistemic information (certainty-uncertainty) and were then asked to select one of two silent videos which seemed to best match the intonation they had heard. The results suggest converging positive effects in both matching tasks and suggest a close interrelation between the pragmatic representations of intonation and gesture that needs to be taken into account when investigating multimodal pragmatic encoding.
... Qu'en est-il du français en contact avec le catalan parlé dans le Roussillon ? Les phrases intonatives du catalan montrent d'importantes variations en matière d'intonation, selon leur structure (Sujet Verbe Objet ou que Verbe Objet Sujet), le dialecte et la fonction (Prieto 2001 ;Vanrell et al. 2013 ;Sichel-Bazin & Roseano 2013) ; mais le patron descendant-montant semble prévaloir dans les questions terminées par un paroxytonavec une descente mélodique sur l'avant-dernière syllabe, accentuée, et une remontée sur la finale (Martínez Celdrán et al. 2005). ...
Article
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A comparative prosodic study of yes/no questions in French in contact with Occitan and Catalan This study reports on an analysis of data collected in Provence, Languedoc and Roussillon, during a field survey carried out among speakers of Occitan (Languedocian or Provençal) and Catalan, in addition to French. In particular, we compared the prosody of yes/no questions ending in a word stressed on the penultimate syllable (e.g. caserna “barracks” in Occitan or Catalan, caserne with a pronounced final schwa in southern French). On the last two syllables of questions, it turns out that the rising-rising pitch pattern is the most common and, according to a perception experiment using prosody modification/resynthesis, that it is preferred to a falling-rising pattern by southern French listeners. A falling-rising pattern was also observed in Roussillon, probably resulting from a prosodic transfer from Catalan to French. It was not associated with that region by southern French listeners who took part in a second perceptual experiment. Yet, the intonation patterns found may have other functions.
... What about French in contact with Catalan spoken in Roussillon? Catalan interrogative sentences show considerable variation in intonation, depending on their structure (Subject Verb Object or que Verb Object Subject) and dialect (Prieto, 2001;Vanrell et al., 2013). However, the falling-rising pattern seems to prevail in questions ending in a paroxytone -with a pitch fall on the penultimate, stressed, syllable and a rise on the final syllable (Celdrán Martínez et al, 2005.). ...
Article
Full-text available
This study reports on an analysis of data collected in Provence, Languedoc and Roussillon, during a field survey carried out among speakers of Occitan (Languedocian or Provençal) and Catalan, in addition to French. In particular, we compared the prosody of yes/no questions ending in a word stressed on the penultimate syllable (e.g. caserna "barracks" in Occitan or Catalan, caserne with a pronounced final schwa in southern French). On the last two syllables of questions, it turns out that the rising-rising pitch pattern is the most common and, according to a perception experiment using prosody modification/resynthesis, that it is preferred to a falling-rising pattern by southern French listeners. A falling-rising pattern was also observed in Roussillon, probably resulting from a prosodic transfer from Catalan to French. It was not associated with that region by southern French listeners who took part in a second perceptual experiment. Yet, the intonation patterns found may have other functions.
... Hence, the subject is pronounced in a different tonal unit and is characterized by tonal compression. However, since MajCat is a pro-drop language, syntactic aspects alone do not always allow a listener to differentiate between question types, and intonation is perhaps the most reliable cue [15], differently from AmEng. Thus, both languages have reliable intonational cues to questionhood, but differ in the reliability of syntactic marking of polar questions. ...
Conference Paper
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We offer an experimental approach to the study of the types of implicatures generated by polar question intonation in American English and Majorcan Catalan, which is rising and falling, respectively. In a categorization task, we show that discourse context affects whether listeners perceive utterances produced with the polar question markers (PQMs) to be declaratives versus questions. Results from an intention identification task show that PQMs in specific discourse contexts generate pragmatic implicatures, but that the " questioning " meaning of PQMs seems to persist, suggesting that PQMs give rise to conventional implicatures. While some language-specific differences were identified, results suggest that regardless of the direction of the contour, PQMs may generate similar types of implicatures cross-linguistically, and should be investigated with a larger sampling of languages.
... As discussed above, yes-no questions in Yami take a rising tone (L+H* or L*+H) and are aligned with a final high boundary tone, while declaratives have a falling pattern. The results also suggest that in contrast to languages like Majorcan Catalan [16] and Mandarin [19], whose CSQs and ISQs are syntactically ambiguous but prosodically discernible, both of these questions in Yami have the same syntactic frame and are unexceptionally marked with a high boundary tone. ...
... Additionally, German, Chickasaw, and Swedish differentiate information-seeking from echo questions through their use of prosody (Grice et al. 2005, for German; Gordon 2005, for Chickasaw; House 2002, 2003, for Swedish). Interestingly, Spanish and Catalan are examples of languages that have been reported to ex hibit intonational distinctions among all three of these types of yn-questions: confirmationseeking , information-seeking, and echo questions (Navarro Tomás 1968; Quilis 1985; Escandell-Vidal, 1998, for Spanish; Prieto 2014; Vanrell et al. 2013, for Catalan). ...
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 that their productions generally reflect the adult inventory pattern (Lleó & Rakow 2011; Prieto et al. 2012). Yet prior studies have not included an analysis of the pragmatic meanings that are encoded intonationally. This investigation takes an integrated approach to the study of intonational development within the domain of yes-no questions, exploring further the correspondence between intonational form and meaning in early interrogative production and relating it to the pragmatics of interrogative intonation in child-directed speech. A set of 723 interrogative utterances produced by 3 Catalan- and 2 Spanish-acquiring children between the onset of interrogative production and 2;4 were pragmatically and then prosodically analyzed, as well as a set of 867 utterances from Catalan and Spanish CDS. The data were extracted from the Serra-Solé Catalan Corpus and the Ojea and López-Ornat Spanish Corpora in CHILDES. Production results show that all children perform some instance of questioning before the two-word period and that their productions generally reflect the adult inventory patterns. Moreover, the results show a preference relationship between the different types of nuclear pitch configurations and the pragmatic meanings that underlie the yes-no-interrogative forms. Finally, these results highlight the importance of the assessment of form-meaning relationships for the understanding of intonational development.
... Bothoftheseexperimentalstudiesprovidefirstinsightsintotheinterplaybetween pragmaticfactorsandpolarquestionform.Onedrawbackoftheuseofwrittenmaterials in these studies is that one cannot control the prosody with which participants silently read the items (Fodor 2002). That the prosodic realization also plays a role insignallingspeakerbias(independentofmorphosyntacticmarking)hasbeenshown in a number of studies on different languages (Escandell Vidal 1998, Kügler 2003Savino & Grice 2011;Savino 2012;Vanrell et al. 2013;Vanrell, Armstrong & Prieto 2014;Borràs-Comes&Prieto2015).Forinstance,Vanrelletal.(2013)showedthatthe pitchscalingoftheleadingtoneinanH+L*accentinCatalanwasamajorcueforthe perceptualdistinctionbetweeninformation-andconfirmation-seekingpolarquestions (i.e.,neutralvs.positivespeakerbias).Specifically,ahigherscaledleadingtone¡H+L* intheCatalansystemwasperceivedasinformation-seeking,whilealower-scaledleading tone (H+L*) as confirmation-seeking. elicited positive and negativepolarquestionswithandwithoutbiastowardsthepropositionofthesentence radicalinSardinian.Apartfromlexico-syntacticdifferences,theyreporttwodifferent accentualpatterns:an¡H+L*L%patternwasfrequentlyproducedinconditionswithoutspeakerbias,whilepositivebiasquestionswereprimarilyproducedwithan¡H*+L L-pattern.ForGerman, Kügler(2003)analyzedasetof66polarquestionsinSaxon Germanandarguedthatpolarquestionswitharisingboundarytoneareinformationseeking while those with a falling boundary tone are confirmation-seeking (i.e., the answerisavailableinthepriordiscourse,seealsoSavino&Grice(2011)fortheprosodic effects of this pragmatic difference in Bari Italian polar questions). Perception datahavealsoshownthatincreasesinpitchrangechangetheperceptionofaquestion fromaninformation-seekingtoanincredulityquestioninEnglish(Ward&Hirschberg 1985). ...
Article
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Different polar question forms (e.g., Do you / Do you not / Don’t you / Really? Do you... have a car?) are not equally appropriate in all situations. The present experiments investigate which combinations of original speaker belief and contextual evidence influence the choice of question type in English and German. Our results show that both kinds of bias interact: in both languages, positive polar questions are typically selected when there is no original speaker belief and positive or non-informative contextual evidence; low negation questions (Do you not...?) are most frequently chosen when no original belief meets negative contextual evidence; high negation questions (Don’t you...?) are prompted when positive original speaker belief is followed by negative or non-informative contextual evidence; positive questions with really are produced most frequently when a negative original bias is combined with positive contextual evidence. In string-identical forms, there are prosodic differences across crucial conditions.
... Researchers tend to focus on binary distinctions such as information-vs. confirmation-seeking (Vanrell et al. 2013), or neutral vs. biased questions (Prieto and Roseano 2010). These distinctions are generally based on neutral PQs, where the speaker has no belief with respect to whether the interlocutor's answer will be yes or no (information-seeking questions, unbiased questions), vs. those where s/he does (confirmation-seeking questions, biased questions). ...
Article
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Many varieties of Romance show more than one intonation contour available for polar question (PQ) marking. Understanding the pragmatic licensing conditions for these contours is no easy task. Experimental work has tended to account for the variation in terms of dichotomies like information-seeking vs. confirmation-seeking or neutral vs. biased. In this paper I use production data to argue that different languages and dialects will encode different types of information intonationally in PQs, but that the type of information that we find encoded through intonation is quite similar to the type of information encoded through sentence-final particles in languages like Cantonese or Lao. These meanings lie on an epistemic gradient, and the points on the gradient that are encoded linguistically through intonation are language-specific (i.e. language X encodes meaning A, but language Y might encode meaning B, or meanings A & B, etc.). I explore three contours in Puerto Rican Spanish, their phonetic implementations, and their meanings with respect to this epistemic gradient. I argue that we should keep in mind the range of possible meanings of SFPs in other languages in order to refine our methodology in a way that allows us to make better predictions about the pragmatic division of labor among intonation contours, specifically for PQs.
... In recent years a considerable amount of research has been devoted to the interface between semanticspragmatics and prosody in polar questions for different languages dealing with information structure and/or degree of certainty about the truth value of the proposition (Grice & Savino 1997Haan, 2001, for Dutch;K?gler, 2003, for German;Santos & Mata, 2008, for Portuguese;Vanrell, Mascar?, Torres-Tamarit, & Prieto, 2013, forCatalan); speaker bias (Asher & Reese, 2007;Hwang & Ito, 2014, for Japanese;Armstrong, in press, forSpanish); information source (Hara & Kawahara, 2012, for Japanese;Vanrell, Armstrong, & Prieto, 2014, forCatalan) and/or requests (?lvarez & Blondet, 2003;Estrella-Santos, 2007;Orozco Vaca, 2008Astruc, Vanrell, & Prieto, in press;Nadeu & Prieto, 2011, forCatalan); and incredulity or disbelief (Lee, 2010, for Spanish;Crespo-Sendra, 2011, for Catalan). These studies tend to concentrate on the intonational patterns used to convey specific meanings but they often disregard the lexico-syntactic structure itself or how these tonal events interact with lexicon and syntax. ...
Article
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In this paper we investigate the interplay between lexicon, syntax, intonation and pragmatics in Sardinian polar questions. To this end, a production study was designed to elicit polar questions with different bias and polarity conditions by means of the Discourse Completion Task Methodology. The resulting data were then prosodically and syntactically annotated using Praat. The results can be summarized as follows. Regarding lexico-syntactic markers, the particle a functions as a mitigator or politeness marker, whereas constituent fronting and negation correspond to positive and negative polarity respectively. In addition, two main intonational patterns can be distinguished: the iH+L* L% pattern, which expresses “lack of bias”, and the iH*+L L- pattern, which conveys the speaker bias towards the proposition.
... The underpinnings of sentence-final particles mirror quite closely the function of intonation in PQs. For instance, Vanrell et al. (2013) show that through intonation, speakers can encode their greater degree of commitment to propositional content in PQs. Vanrell et al. (2014) showed that when Mallorcan Catalan speakers have physically perceived evidence for a proposition, they are likely to mark PQs with the particle que and the L+H* L% nuclear configuration. ...
Article
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In the past decades, we have advanced significantly in our knowledge of intonational meaning, but few studies have tested experimentally the way in which discourse contexts affect intonational meaning. In this work we were specifically interested in how listeners use both intonation and discourse context to infer information about speaker belief states. We examined the effect of five bias types on two intonation contours used for polar questions (PQs) in Puerto Rican Spanish (PRS). The bias types consisted of unbiased, mild positive bias, strong positive bias and mismatch bias contexts. The intonation contours had been previously claimed to differ in the belief state information they convey – ¡H*L% is known to mark utterances as PQs without encoding specific belief state on the part of the speaker, while L*HL% is known to convey a state of disbelief on the part of the speaker (Armstrong, 2010). We hypothesized that the lack of belief and the presence of disbelief for these contours, respectively, would be perceived by listeners when these contours were heard in an unbiased context. We also predicted that listeners would rely on contextual bias more for the ¡H*L% contour than the L*HL% contour, and that the disbelief meaning would persist regardless of discourse context. Perceived belief scores were analyzed, and results show that different bias types affected perceived belief scores in different ways. Mild positive bias did not seem to affect perceived belief for the two contours, while strong positive bias and mismatch bias did. Since L*HL% conventionally conveys disbelief, a reversal effect was shown when it was heard in the strong belief context. Participants’ comments indicate that in such cases, an ironic interpretation of the contour is available. These results, in addition to the comments provided by participants, show that perceived belief will depend both on the type of contextual bias, as well as the type of information conveyed intonationally. This work provides more evidence for the dynamic relationship between specific context types and intonation contours that differ in terms of the amount and type of meaning they convey.
... One of the common expressions of epistemic disposition is speaker certainty, or the expression of the degree of commitment of the speaker towards the proposition expressed (e.g., [7] for English, [14] for Catalan). Previous literature on the pragmatics of yes-no questions has shown that intonation can encode a distinction between pure informationseeking questions (i.e., when the speaker has no particular bias with respect to the answer he/she expects) and confirmation-seeking questions (i.e., when the speaker expresses some degree of commitment to the content of his/her proposition [4,8,6,16]). Recently, Vanrell et al. [17] have shown that a specific type of yes-no question intonation in Majorcan Catalan signals the speaker's sensory access to evidential information, which in turn has implications for speaker certainty. ...
Conference Paper
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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 acceptability between a set of interrogative utterances (variously produced with one of four intonational contours) and their immediate discourse context (which was controlled for epistemic bias). We found that participants preferred some question intonation contours over others in specific epistemic contexts. That is, results show that question intonation encodes fine-grained information about the epistemic stance of the speaker, not only in relation to the speaker's own propositions but also in relation to the addressee's propositions.
... Similarly, Ward and Hirshberg's joint work on the meaning of different tunes (Ward and Hirschberg, 1985;, 1995 refers explicitly to Grice's cooperation principle (Grice, 1975) and to Clark's conception of mutual knowledge (Clark et al., 1981;Clark, 1992Clark, , 1996. In different Romance languages, the choice of a pitch accent has been said to reflect "the degree of confidence with which the speaker believes the information to be shared with the interlocutor" (Grice and Savino (1997): p. 29, see also Vanrell et al. (2013) for a recent survey). ...
Article
The aim of this study was to test if the meaning of intonational contours involves speaker commitment and attitude attribution to the addressee. We examined whether the pragmatic choice of a contour signals how the speaker (S) anticipates the reaction of the addressee (A) to his utterance by attributing attitudes to him and calling for his next move. We focused on four French contours (a fall L*L%, a rise H*H%, a rise-fall H*L% and a rise-fall-rise H+!H*H%). In an original forced-choice interpretation task, participants heard sentences carrying one of the contours and had to choose among four possible reactions chosen for their hypothetical link to the contour meanings (I get it; I’ve no idea; I guess you’re right; No, really, it's true). The results show that L*L% was consistently associated with “I get it”, confirming that A did not know proposition p before and signaling that p was added to the common ground, H*H% with “I’ve no idea”, which rejects S's attribution to A of knowledge about p, and H+!H*H% with “No, really, it's true”, which signals that A actually believes p while S does not. They give experimental support to the view that intonational meaning is dialogical.
... height). However, the anchoring (or 'association') of an F0 target to a given prosodic unit (e.g. a syllable at some specific point in the utterance) is seen as phonological in nature. 2 Accordingly, discrete boundaries have been found between contrasting intonational categories in a wide range of perceptual tasks, including categorical perception tasks using synthetic continua (Pierrehumbert & Steele 1989, Dilley 2005, Vanrell et al. 2013. Thus, the intonational categories (and the category boundaries between them) are assumed to be a part of the native speaker's linguistic knowledge. ...
Thesis
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While a substantial body of research has accumulated regarding how intonation is acquired in a second language (L2), the topic has historically received relatively little attention from mainstream models of L2 phonology. As such, a unified theoretical framework suited to address unique acquisitional challenges specific to this domain of L2 knowledge (such as form-function mapping) has been lacking. The theoretical component of the dissertation makes progress on this front by taking up the issue of crosslinguistic transfer in L2 intonation. Using Mennen's (2015) L2 Intonation Learning theory as a point of departure, the available empirical studies are synthesized into a typology of the different possible ways two languages' intonation systems can mismatch as well as the concomitant implications for transfer. Next, the methodological component of the dissertation presents a framework for overcoming challenges in the analysis of L2 learners' intonation production due to the interlanguage mixing of their native and L2 systems. The proposed method involves first creating a stylization of the learner's intonation contour and then running queries to extract phonologically-relevant features of interest for a particular research question. A novel approach to stylization is also introduced that not only allows for transitions between adjacent pitch targets to have a nonlinear shape but also explicitly parametrizes and stores this nonlinearity for analysis. Finally, these two strands are integrated in a third, empirical component to the dissertation. Three kinds of intonation transfer, representing nodes from different branches of the typology, are examined in Japanese learners of English as a Foreign Language (EFL). For each kind of transfer, fourteen sentences were selected from a large L2 speech corpus (English Speech Database Read by Japanese Students), and productions of each sentence by approximately 20-30 learners were analyzed using the proposed method. Results suggest that the three examined kinds of transfer are stratified into a hierarchy of relative frequency, with some phenomena occurring much more pervasively than others. Together as a whole, the present dissertation lays the groundwork for future research on L2 intonation by not only generating empirical predictions to be tested but also providing the analytical tools for doing so. For the full text of the dissertation, see: http://dx.doi.org/10.5967/K8JW8BSC For the linguistic annotations that the analyses are based upon, see: http://dx.doi.org/10.5967/K86Q1V51 For the R code used to conduct these analyses, see: https://github.com/usagi5886/intonation
... Bothoftheseexperimentalstudiesprovidefirstinsightsintotheinterplaybetween pragmaticfactorsandpolarquestionform.Onedrawbackoftheuseofwrittenmaterials in these studies is that one cannot control the prosody with which participants silently read the items (Fodor 2002). That the prosodic realization also plays a role insignallingspeakerbias(independentofmorphosyntacticmarking)hasbeenshown in a number of studies on different languages (Escandell Vidal 1998, Kügler 2003Savino & Grice 2011;Savino 2012;Vanrell et al. 2013;Vanrell, Armstrong & Prieto 2014;Borràs-Comes&Prieto2015).Forinstance,Vanrelletal.(2013)showedthatthe pitchscalingoftheleadingtoneinanH+L*accentinCatalanwasamajorcueforthe perceptualdistinctionbetweeninformation-andconfirmation-seekingpolarquestions (i.e.,neutralvs.positivespeakerbias).Specifically,ahigherscaledleadingtone¡H+L* intheCatalansystemwasperceivedasinformation-seeking,whilealower-scaledleading tone (H+L*) as confirmation-seeking. elicited positive and negativepolarquestionswithandwithoutbiastowardsthepropositionofthesentence radicalinSardinian.Apartfromlexico-syntacticdifferences,theyreporttwodifferent accentualpatterns:an¡H+L*L%patternwasfrequentlyproducedinconditionswithoutspeakerbias,whilepositivebiasquestionswereprimarilyproducedwithan¡H*+L L-pattern.ForGerman, Kügler(2003)analyzedasetof66polarquestionsinSaxon Germanandarguedthatpolarquestionswitharisingboundarytoneareinformationseeking while those with a falling boundary tone are confirmation-seeking (i.e., the answerisavailableinthepriordiscourse,seealsoSavino&Grice(2011)fortheprosodic effects of this pragmatic difference in Bari Italian polar questions). Perception datahavealsoshownthatincreasesinpitchrangechangetheperceptionofaquestion fromaninformation-seekingtoanincredulityquestioninEnglish(Ward&Hirschberg 1985). ...
Article
Full-text available
Different polar question forms (e.g., Do you / Do you not / Don’t you / Really? Do you... have a car?) are not equally appropriate in all situations. The present experiments investigate which combinations of original speaker belief and contextual evidence influence the choice of question type in English and German. Our results show that both kinds of bias interact: in both languages, positive polar questions are typically selected when there is no original speaker belief and positive or non-informative contextual evidence; low negation questions (Do you not...?) are most frequently chosen when no original belief meets negative contextual evidence; high negation questions (Don’t you...?) are prompted when positive original speaker belief is followed by negative or non-informative contextual evidence; positive questions with really are produced most frequently when a negative original bias is combined with positive contextual evidence. In string-identical forms, there are prosodic differences across crucial conditions.
... For example, the nuclear tone in Glide-up and Take-off are the same, but these classes are discriminated based on the entire tone pattern. Most of the existing works have studied the variations of intonation among different nativities [13][14][15][16][17][18] and variations of BE intonation across the na-We thank the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India and the Pratiksha Trust for their support. ...
... Majorcan Catalan, for example, has a contrast between two falling intonation contours for polar (or yes/no) questions. For both contours, pitch falls from a high tone (H) to a low tone (L) through the final stressed syllable of the question and ends in a low boundary tone (L%) (Vanrell, Mascaró, Torres-Tamarit, & Prieto, 2013). However, this specific variety of Catalan presents a contrast such that an extra high tone leads the fall through the final stressed syllable (e.g., -ri in the question Teniu mandarines? ...
Article
This study explores how young children infer nuances in epistemic modality through prosody. A forced-choice task was used, testing children's (ages three to seven) comprehension of the might/will distinction (modal condition) as well their ability to modulate the strength of might through two prosodic tunes (prosody condition). Positive and negative valence conditions were included. Younger children were shown to start off performing above chance for the modal condition, and at around chance for the prosody condition, but after age four performance on the prosody condition quickly improved. For both modal verbs and prosody, children performed significantly better when valence was positive. By age seven, children performed at ceiling for all conditions. Qualitative analysis of children's justifications for prosody responses showed metalinguistic awareness of prosodic meaning as early as age four, with the ability to relate prosody to epistemic modal meaning becoming quite common by age seven.
... There is a growing literature illustrating the important role played by prosody in conveying a speaker's degree of certainty about propositional content (Gravano, Benus, Hirschberg, German, &Ward, 2008 andRoseano, González, Borràs-Comes, & for declaratives and interrogatives; Armstrong, 2015a, Armstrong & Prieto, 2015Hara, Kawahara, & Feng, 2014;Michelas, Portes, & Champagne-Lavau, 2016;Vanrell, Mascaró, Torres-Tamarit, & Prieto 2013 for interrogatives), and thus the idea that epistemic information is signalled prosodically is less controversial. The use of epistemic intonation in questions has also been shown to have implications for intonational development (Armstrong, 2014(Armstrong, , 2016. ...
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 sensory information (via one of the five senses), while the other had been told that p by a third party, that is, reported information. Participants listened to a set of discourse contexts that ended in critical stimuli with three attested combinations of particle/intonation in this variety of Catalan: (1) polar questions produced with a falling nuclear contour ¡H+L* L%; (2) polar questions headed with the particle que ‘that’ produced with ¡H+L* L%; and (3) polar questions headed with the particle que and produced with a rise-fall L+H* L%. After hearing the stimulus, participants had to decide which of the twins had uttered the question–the one who inferred a proposition (p) based on direct sensory information or the one who had been told p by a third party. The results show that listeners very consistently associate the que + L+H* L% combination with inferences drawn from direct sensory evidence as opposed to reported evidence. This shows that particles may work in tandem with intonation to convey the information source. Importantly, we show that intonation is a part of grammar that may be recruited for evidential strategies.
... Aspects of this research focus are also taken up in a number of studies (see e.g. Grice & Savino 2003, Armstrong 2010, Vanrell et al. 2013, Armstrong & Prieto 2015 that have related intonation contours, not least in Romance languages, specifically to speakers' certainty about the propositional content. These studies could also be subsumed under the notion of belief status or attribution. ...
Article
The question of whether and how intonation patterns bear meanings is an old one, usually evaluated with reference to imagined or elicited speech. This study takes an interactional linguistic approach instead, examining intonation and meaning in naturally occurring interaction. The pattern considered here is a French intonation contour involving a salient initial accent and a low primary accent. This intonation pattern could be analysed as the so-called accent d'insistance , which is often said to have pragmatic meanings such as intensification and contrastive focus. This article analyses the uses of this contour in repeats. When used in repeats of an interlocutor's speech, the contour indicates unproblematic receipt of the repeated talk, making a confirming response optional, and contrasts with a final rise pattern used in repeats that initiate repair and request confirmation. However, in two other types of repetitions (self-repetition of a previously made assessment, and modified self-repetition for correction purposes), there is indeed interactional evidence supporting the argument that the contour helps convey the pragmatic meanings intensification and contrastive focus, respectively. It is argued that all of these meanings are achieved through the interplay of semiotic resources of several kinds (prosodic, verbal and sequential properties of talk), and that the contour itself has no inherent, context-independent meaning. The empirical findings presented suggest that the autonomy of intonation in the achievement of meaning has been overemphasised.
... For instance, the L*+HL H% (rise-fall-rise) contour in American English has been shown to convey both uncertainty and incredulity, meanings that are disambiguated through pitch range (Ward & Hirschberg, 1988). Recently there has been a resurgence in the literature on the relationship between speaker belief states and prosody (Armstrong, 2015, for questions, inter alia; Armstrong & Prieto, 2015;Gravano, Benus, Hirschberg, German, & Ward, 2008, for declaratives;Gunlogson, 2003;Lai, 2010, for cue words;Vanrell, Mascaró, Torres-Tamarit, & Prieto, 2013). As we deepen our understanding of how adult speakers negotiate the mutual belief space through prosody, we are beginning to understand how children learn to do a point where 'the melody is the message' (Fernald, 1989), when children are very young, to a state where prosody and lexical items work together, i.e., the message goes beyond the melody. ...
Chapter
Infants have access to the prosodic aspects of their ambient language even prior to birth, but many aspects of prosody are produced and comprehended well after infancy. One of these aspects includes prosody related to internal states such as beliefs, desires, feelings and emotions. In this chapter, we review the literature on prosody related to internal states, paying special attention to prosodic meanings associated with emotions and belief states and drawing from production and comprehension studies of preschool- and school-aged children. We show that there are many parallels in the development of these two aspects of prosody, suggesting the usefulness of studying them in tandem. Implications for these findings are discussed as well as fruitful directions for future work.
... Different linguistic schools have long stated that Information Structure (IS), and, in particular, the dichotomy referred to as theme-rheme [11], given-new [12], or topic-focus [13] is related to intonation. 2 Moreover, it has been claimed that when prosody reflects thematicity structure, comprehension of the message is positively affected [14]. Recent empirical studies in different languages provide evidence of such an improvement; cf., e.g., [15] for German and [16] for Catalan. Therefore, there is reason to assume that a conversational application that considers, on the one hand, content packaging in terms of thematicity and, on the other hand, the relation between thematicity and prosody will lead to more natural conversation settings. ...
... given that phonetic differences in f0-excursion and scaling are used to distinguish illocution types in other languages (Rathcke, 2006 for Russian;Vanrell, et al., 2012 for Catalan). ...
Article
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This paper reports on the prosody of rhetorical questions (RQs) and information-seeking questions (ISQs) in German for two question types, polar questions and constituent questions (henceforth wh-questions). The results are as follows: Phonologically, polar RQs were mainly realized with H-% (high plateau), while polar ISQs mostly ended in H-^H% (high-rise). Wh-RQs almost exclusively terminated in a low edge tone, whereas wh-ISQs allowed for more tonal variation (L-%, L-H%, H-^H%). Irrespective of question type, RQs were mainly produced with L*+H accents. Phonetically, RQs were more often realized with breathy voiced quality than ISQs, in particular in the beginning of the interrogative. Furthermore, they were produced with longer constituent durations than ISQs, in particular at the end of the interrogative. While the difference between RQs and ISQs is reflected in the intonational terminus of the utterance, this does not happen in the way suggested in the semantic literature, and in addition, accent type and phonetic parameters also play a role. Crucially, a simple distinction between rising and falling intonation is insufficient to capture the realization of the different illocution types (RQ, ISQ), against frequent claims in the semantic and pragmatic literature. We suggest alternative ways to interpret the findings.
... Different linguistic schools have long stated that Information Structure (IS), and, in particular, the dichotomy referred to as theme-rheme [11], given-new [12], or topic-focus [13] is related to intonation. 1 Moreover, prosody structure on the grounds of thematicity partitions plays a key role in the understanding of a message [14]. Empirical studies in different languages provide evidence that when thematicity and prosody are appropriately correlated with each other, comprehension of the message is positively affected (cf., e.g., [5] for German and [15] for Catalan). Therefore, there is reason to assume that a conversational application considering the notions of content packaging by means of the relation between thematicity and prosody will benefit from the same advantages as in natural conversation environments. ...
... From a conversational analysis point of view, Heritage (2012) has related different gradients of speaker certainty (in his words, gradients of epistemic stance) to a difference between declaratives (e.g., You're married, where the speaker commits himself to his proposition), tag questions (e.g., You're married, aren't you?, where the speaker expresses a mid-level commitment), and questions (e.g., Are you married?, where the speaker expresses a low-level commitment; see also Escandell-Vidal 1998). Intonation has been shown to encode a distinction between pure information-seeking questions (i.e., questions where the speaker shows no particular commitment to his/her proposition) and confirmationseeking questions (e.g., questions with a higher level of commitment to the proposition; see Escandell-Vidal 1998;Armstrong 2017, andArmstrong andPrieto 2015 for Spanish;Gravano et al. 2008 for English;Savino and Grice 2011 for Italian;Vanrell et al. 2013 andRoseano et al. 2016 for Catalan, among others). Recently, Vanrell et al. (2017) have shown that a specific type of polar question intonation in Majorcan Catalan signals the speaker's sensory access to direct evidential information, which Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. ...
Article
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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 test the claim that intonation in Catalan plays an important role in the specification of dynamic epistemic commitments in two complementary directions, i.e., speaker commitments to the speaker’s own proposition and speaker agreement with the addressee’s proposition. Following Krifka's commitment space semantics (Krifka 2015, Krifka 2017), we will test the claim that question intonation in Catalan encodes different levels of ASSERT (commitment) and REJECT ((dis)agreement) epistemic operators. A total of 119 Central Catalan listeners participated in an acceptability judgment task and were asked to rate the perceived degree of acceptability between a set of interrogative utterances (variously produced with one of four intonational contours) and their previous discourse context (which was controlled for epistemic bias). Results showed that question intonation contours encode binary (and not degree) distinctions in speaker commitment and speaker agreement. That is, results showed that question intonation encodes fine-grained information about the epistemic stance of the speaker, not only in relation to the speaker’s own propositions but also in relation to the addressee’s propositions. From a crosslinguistic point of view, we argue that intonation closely parallels the function of modal markers in their encoding of speaker commitment and speaker agreement operators.
... There is a growing literature illustrating the important role played by prosody in conveying a speaker's degree of certainty about propositional content (Gravano, Benus, Hirschberg, German, &Ward, 2008 andRoseano, González, Borràs-Comes, & for declaratives and interrogatives; Armstrong, 2015a, Armstrong & Prieto, 2015Hara, Kawahara, & Feng, 2014;Michelas, Portes, & Champagne-Lavau, 2016;Vanrell, Mascaró, Torres-Tamarit, & Prieto 2013 for interrogatives), and thus the idea that epistemic information is signalled prosodically is less controversial. The use of epistemic intonation in questions has also been shown to have implications for intonational development (Armstrong, 2014(Armstrong, , 2016. ...
... In connection with the issue of a ceiling effect in accuracy, it may be useful for future studies to also look at measures (e.g., reaction times) other than accuracy among the native speakers in order to detect a potential effect of visual cues (Chen, 2003;Ladd & Morton, 1997;Vanrell, Mascaró, Torres-Tamarit, & Prieto, 2013). ...
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Speech perception is a multisensory process: what we hear can be affected by what we see. For instance, the McGurk effect occurs when auditory speech is presented in synchrony with discrepant visual information. A large number of studies have targeted the McGurk effect at the segmental level of speech (mainly consonant perception), which tends to be visually salient (lip-reading based), while the present study aims to extend the existing body of literature to the suprasegmental level, that is, investigating a McGurk effect for the identification of tones in Mandarin Chinese. Previous studies have shown that visual information does play a role in Chinese tone perception, and that the different tones correlate with variable movements of the head and neck. We constructed various tone combinations of congruent and incongruent auditory-visual materials (10 syllables with 16 tone combinations each) and presented them to native speakers of Mandarin Chinese and speakers of tone-naïve languages. In line with our previous work, we found that tone identification varies with individual tones, with tone 3 (the low-dipping tone) being the easiest one to identify, whereas tone 4 (the high-falling tone) was the most difficult one. We found that both groups of participants mainly relied on auditory input (instead of visual input), and that the auditory reliance for Chinese subjects was even stronger. The results did not show evidence for auditory-visual integration among native participants, while visual information is helpful for tone-naïve participants. However, even for this group, visual information only marginally increases the accuracy in the tone identification task, and this increase depends on the tone in question.
... Though speakers' epistemic disposition towards a proposition, such as the degree of certainty towards its content, can also be expressed through lexical marking (for instance, through adverbials such as 'surely,' 'certainly'), intonational form has been recently found to be a relevant cue (Vanrell, Mascaro, Torres-Tamarit, & Prieto, 2013 for confirmationseeking questions in Catalan), as well as facial and body gestures (Palmer, 2001;Borràs-Comes, Kiagia, & Prieto, 2019). Confirmation-seeking questions, for instance, can be defined as questions for which the speaker shows a bias which can be calculated on the In order to appreciate how both phonological and phonetic intonation cues affect the interpretation of epistemic stance in question intonation and how our results interact with the literature, we need to understand the issues involved in the analysis and current theories of intonational meaning. ...
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The paper investigates the interplay between intonational cues and individual variability in the perceptual assessment of speaker’s epistemic bias in Salerno Italian yes-no questions. We present a perception experiment in which we manipulated pitch span within the nuclear configuration (both nuclear accent and boundary tone) to predict degree of perceived positive bias (i.e., expected positive answer) to yes-no question stimuli. Our results show that a wider pitch span within the nuclear region predicts a higher degree of perceived positive bias, while negative bias is predicted by narrow pitch span. Crucially, though, two interacting sources of listener variability were uncovered, i.e. prolonged exposure to a non-native dialect as well as degree of empathy (i.e., Empathy Quotient, EQ). Exposure to non-native phonological systems was found to affect the way pitch span is mapped onto perceived epistemic bias, through category interference, though mediated by EQ levels. Specifically, high-empathy listeners were more affected by degree of non-native dialect exposure. EQ scores were hence found to have an effect on gradual span manipulation by interacting with the dialect exposure effect. These results advance our understanding of the intonation-meaning mapping by taking into account both the impact of gradual phonetic cues on meaning processing as well as uncovering sources of cognitive variability at the perceiver’s level.
... Their fMRI data were in conformity with these results, indicating that intonation was gradient for both groups. While neuroscientific evidence for intonational categoriality is thus scant, behavioural evidence has been obtained from a variety of experimental approaches, such as an imitation task (Pierrehumbert & Steele, 1989), semantic judgements (Borràs-Comes, Vanrell, & Prieto, 2014;Gussenhoven & Rietveld, 2000;Vanrell, Mascaró, Torres-Tamarit, & Prieto, 2012), and equivalence judgements (Odé, 2005). Arguably, these results may not yet have been sufficiently replicated across intonational contrasts and languages, so they may retain a provisional character (Gussenhoven, 2006;Prieto, 2012). ...
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Production studies of the intonational signalling of focus in European Portu-guese (EP) have shown that focus is expressed by a specific pitch accent type, thus revealing a systematic contrast between nuclear accents associated with different meanings. In declarative utterances, the contrast between the neutral/ broad focus reading and the narrow/contrastive focus reading is essentially realized as an alignment difference: H+L* (neutral accent) and H*+L (focus accent). A pilot perceptual study using natural stimuli has shown that subjects are able to distinguish between members of neutral/focus minimal pairs and to match them to the appropriate production context. However, the perception of the contrast found in production has not yet been investigated in detail. The present paper revisits the production contrast and investigates its categorical nature using a multiple methodology approach that resorts to semantically motivated tasks. Several experiments tested whether differences in F0 peak and valley alignment would trigger a perceptual change from one meaning to the other, and whether the alignment differences pattern alike in stimuli based on a neutral and a focus sentence. In Experiment 1, stimuli were classified in a context-matching identification task. In Experiment 2, participants rated appropriateness of stimulus to context in a semantic scaling task. Finally, in Experiment 3, pairs of stimuli were discriminated in a context-matching discrimination task. The results of the three experiments provide converging evidence for the distinction between H+L* and H*+L. Moreover, they support the claim that the neutral/focus accent distinction is primarily an alignment contrast phonologically encoded at the pitch accent level. These findings have implications for the understanding of the nature of intonational contrasts, and the discussion about the approaches and methods to define prosodic categories .
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In this paper we identify intonation cues that can disambiguate confirmation-seeking questions in adult-child dialogue in European Portuguese (EP). 301 examples of confirmation requests answered by two children and uttered by three different adults were analysed. Results show that (i) most confirmation-seeking questions (92.7%) do not present the intonation pattern previously identified for information-seeking questions in EP; (ii) pragmatic/discourse values of confirmation-seeking questions affect pitch accent type distribution and F0 height of both nuclear pitch accents and final boundary tones; (iii) L*+H and ^H*, previously associated with narrow/contrastive focus in questions or with correction of given information, are associated with non-neutral acceptance in confirmation requests. We interpret non-neutral acceptance as an instance of Contrast and suggest that Contrast is coded across different contexts and structures by the same pitch accents.
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This paper is concerned with the relationships between 'early' pitch accents in German and with whether downstep in German is phonological or phonetic. At the core of our analysis is an investigation into the differences between two kinds of pitch accents in which the pitch peak precedes the accented vowel: these are H+!H* and H+L* which are claimed to be phonologically contrastive in German. We made use of two experimental procedures: (1) a production experiment in which speakers were asked to imitate synthetically manipulated sentences and (2) a semantic differential experiment in which listeners rated the perceived meaning of those sentences on eight semantic scales. Although both the imitation and perception experiment provided evidence for a distinction between an early and a later (H*) peak accent, the results pointed neither to a three-way distinction, nor to a categorical distinction between H+!H* and H+L*. Finally, we present some results from an analysis of both English and German corpora which suggest that the difference between these two peaks may be phonetic and attributable to the number of syllables following the nuclear accent in the tail. Based on these results and from theoretical considerations, we argue that H+!H* is an inappropriate pitch accent category in the inventory of paradigmatic phonological intonational contrasts of standard German.
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This paper investigates the perceptual cues used by Catalan listeners to distinguish between information-seeking and incredulity yes/no questions. Two experiments examined the potential contribution of pitch height of the boundary tone and duration of the last syllable as primary cues in distinguishing sentence types. The results show that a difference in pitch scaling of the boundary tone HH% is the strongest cue for perceptually distinguishing between the two interpretations. Identification results and the absence of a consistent peak in Reaction Time measurements suggest that this perceptual contrast may be gradient rather than categorical in nature.
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This chapter provides an analysis of the prosodic and intonational structure of Greek within the autosegmental/metrical framework of intonational phonology, and presents Greek ToBI (GRToBI), a system for the annotation of Greek spoken corpora based on this analysis. Both the analysis and the annotation system have largely been developed on the basis of a corpus of spoken Greek. The analysis posits five pitch accents (H*, L*, H*+L, L* +H, L+H*), and two levels of phrasing, the intermediate phrase (ip) and the intonational phrase (IP), which are tonally demarcated by three types of phrase accent (H-, L-, !H-) and three types of boundary tone (H%, L%, !H %) respectively. Unlike the original ToBI, GRToBI has five tiers: the Tone Tier, the Words Tier, the Break Index Tier, the Miscellaneous Tier, and the Prosodic Words Tier (a phonetic transcription of prosodic words). © Editorial matter and organization Sun-Ah Jun 2005. All rights reserved.
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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 two identification tasks and analyzed the patterns of responses found as well as reaction times (RTs). The results of the identification tasks show that there is a contrast between the statement interpretation on the one hand (L+H*) and the contrastive foci and echo question interpretation on the other (L+¡H*). However, RTs clearly show that while there is a categorical difference between the statement interpretation (L+H*) and the echo question interpretation (L+¡H*), the difference between a statement interpretation and a contrastive focus interpretation is gradient. This represents further evidence that pitch range can be used to make phonological distinctions between a variety of pragmatic meanings, and strengthens the argument that this needs to be represented descriptively at the phonological level.
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This paper describes the conventions proposed in the first prosodic transcription system within the Tones and Break Indices (ToBI) framework for Catalan: CatalanToBI or Cat_ToBI. The proposal is based on the previous literature on Catalan intonation and a qualitative analysis of a corpus of spoken Catalan that covers several dialects. In the tone tier, Catalan distinguishes among the following accent types: H*, L*, L+H*, L+>H*, L*+H, H+L*, the tritonal L+H*+L (Alguerese), and the downstepped and upstepped variants of H (¡H* and !H*). The model differs from the English ToBI model in that there is no phrase accent category and that only one type of boundary tone occurs to the right of intermediate and intonational phrase boundaries. Catalan distinguishes among the following boundary tones: H%, M%, L%, which can be monotonal or can group into bitonal (LH%, HH%,MM% and, HL%) or tritonal combinations (LHL%). The main aims of the Cat_ToBI system are to serve to improve our knowledge about Catalan intonation and to provide a tool to prosodically annotate oral corpora.
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This paper describes some of the more salient intonational phenomena of Spanish, and reviews several of the most pressing questions that remain to be addressed before a deÞnitive model of the system can be incorporated into a consensus transcription system for the language. The phenomena reviewed include the metrical underpinnings of the tune, and some of the local tone shapes that are anchored at stressed syllables or at phrase edges in several common intonation contours. The description of known facts is couched in the Autosegmental-Metrical model of intonational phonology, as is the review of outstanding questions. The description is used to motivate the preliminary transcription conventions proposed by the Spanish ToBI development group. 1. Who and what is Sp_ToBI? The study of Spanish intonation has a long and illustrious history, beginning with the seminal observations of Navarro Tomás in the Þrst half of the previous century (Navarro Tomás 1918, 1939, 1944). The 1944 monograph, in particular, was monumental for the size of the corpus on which it is based and for its breadth of coverage of the tonemas (i.e., “tones ” in the British school sense of the term). Navarro Tomás was also the Þrst researcher to systematically describe some of the major differences among dialects, such as the use in the Caribbean varieties of a steeply falling rather than a rising tonema in pragmatically neutral, syntactically marked yes-no questions. The Þeld has beneÞted further from two excellent reviews of subsequent literature at quarter-century intervals (Kvavik and Olsen 1974; Alcoba and Murillo 1999), with the Þrst covering more dialects and the second covering more aspects of intonation other than the tonemas. There has been strong interest recently in building on this
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European Portuguese (EP) intonational contrast between statement and question contours was tested on a Categorical Perception based paradigm. From two natural sentences one produced by a male speaker and another by a female, one multi-step continuum from each sentence was created, from declarative to question contour, through acoustic manipulation (PSOLA) and submitted to 20 EP listeners that performed two tasks: an identification and a discrimination task. For the identification test, subjects had to categorize each presented stimulus. In addition to response data, reaction times of the identification task were also collected. For the discrimination test, subjects were presented with an AX discrimination task and had to decide whether the stimuli in each pair were equal or different. Experimental design and procedures were developed with E-Prime. Identification results confirmed that the contrast is indeed categorical. However, identification reaction times measurements point to continuous rather than categorical perception. The absence of a consistent peak of discrimination in the crossover between categories supports the continuous perception view.
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Content: 1. Introduction 2. The corpus 2.1 Subjects 2.2 Recordings 2.3 Data processing 2.4 Materials 3. Intonation in Upper Saxon German yes-no-questions 4. Intonational variation and information structure 5. Conclusions and discussion
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Abstract This article explores the syntactic and prosodic characteristics of polar questions headed by unstressed particles such as que ‘that’ or o ‘or’ in different Catalan dialects (vg. Que plou? ‘Is it raining?’). The presence or absence of the conjunction, together with suprasegmental information, are used variously to encode a variety of systematic pragmatic meanings. In the case of neutral polar questions, while dialects such as Central Catalan, Majorcan and Eivissan express a modality difference between two types of polar questions through differences in the suprasegmental information and optionally through the presence of que, other dialects such as Minorcan, Northern Central Catalan and Valencian cue the modality distinction mainly through the intonation pattern. From a syntactic point of view, we claim that Catalan polar questions are headed by a ,force operator that occupies a peripheral position in the complementizer zone and that contains prosodic features. In this way we explain why in some ,dialects it is exclusively the suprasegmental information that distinguishes the two types of interrogatives and expresses the different modality meanings. ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
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Results are presented of two parallel sets of discrimination and identification experiments for peak and valley shift in German.
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Listeners were tested on their ability to discriminate "standard" and "comparison" pure-tone musical intervals that differed in size by 20 cents (1/5 of an equal-tempered semitone). Some of the intervals were prototypic, equal-tempered perfect fifths (exactly 7 semitones, or 700 cents). Others were mistuned to various degrees (660, 680, 720, or 740 cents). The intervals were melodic (sequential) in Experiments 1 and 2 and harmonic (simultaneous) in Experiment 3. Performance was neither enhanced nor impaired in comparisons that included the prototype. In other words, no "perceptual magnet" or "perceptual anchor" effects were observed. Nonetheless, performance was markedly asymmetric. Regardless of listeners' musical expertise, discrimination was superior when the standard interval was more accurately tuned than the comparison interval (e.g., 700- cent standard, 680-cent comparison), compared with when the comparison was more accurately tuned than the standard (e.g., 680-cent standard, 700-cent comparison).
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This paper analyses the intonation of polar questions extracted from a corpus of task- oriented dialogues in the Bari variety of Italian. They are classified using a system developed for similar dialogues in English where each question is regarded as an init- iating move in a conversational game (Carletta et al 1995). It was found that there was no one-to-one correspondence between move-type and intonation pattern. An alter- native classification was carried out taking into account information status, that is, whether or not the information requested by the speaker is recoverable from the previous dialogue context. It is found that the degree of confidence with which the speaker believ- es the information to be shared with the inter- locutor is reflected in the choice of pitch accent and postfocal accentual pattern. Low confidence polar questions contain a L+H* focal pitch accent and allow for accents to follow it, whereas high confidence ones con- tain a H*+L focal pitch accent, followed by deaccenting or suppression of accents.
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In an empirical study participants were asked to rate the per- ceived degree of certainty of utterances that contained either the modal would or main verb be (e.g. That would be me vs. That's me), and which were also variously produced with one of three intonational contours (downstepped, declarative, and yes-no- question). We found that both downstepped contour and epis- temic would made a signicant and independent contribution to the assessment of speaker certainty. That is, participants rated utterances with the downstepped contour as most certain, fol- lowed by those with the declarative contour, while the yes-no- question contour was perceived as highly uncertain. Similarly, participants rated speakers' responses with epistemic would as signicantly more certain than those without it.
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In Bari Italian, the same pitch accent is used in two different question types – those seeking informa-tion and those challenging what has been said. However, they differ in their pitch range. A percep-tion study was carried out, consisting of a semanti-cally motivated identification task. Results provide preliminary evidence for the categorical perception of pitch range variation in questions.
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This paper investigates two types of questions. OBJECTS, challenging the interlocutor’s assumption that information is shared, are biased towards a negative answer, whereas QUERIES, asking for new information, are generally neutral. In Bari Italian they are both produced with the same pitch accent. However, the height of the pitch peak tends to be greater in OBJECTS. To investigate the perceptual relevance of peak height in distinguishing between these two question types, we carried out a semantically motivated identification task, followed by a discrimination task, recording reaction times in both cases. Results show that listeners can categorically interpret utterances as QUERY or OBJECT on the basis of peak height only. However, their ability to discriminate between pairs of stimuli is poor, thus providing further evidence that categorical interpretation of intonation (like that of vowels) is possible in a labelling task, where listeners have to access linguistic knowledge, whereas it is not possible in a discrimination task, where listeners rely predominantly on psychoacoustic abilities. Results point to the necessity for including [high peak] in the phonology of this variety. KeywordsItalian-negative bias-question types-intonation-F0 peak height-categorical perception-reaction time
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This paper addresses the problem of the perception of two different pitch accents in Italian which signal two utterance types (interrogative and declarative). The questions asked concern whether the major perceptual cue to this category distinction involves only the temporal alignment of the high level target with the syllable or if the category percept also depends on the presence of a rising or falling melodic movement within the syllable nucleus. The results show that the primary perceptual cue for questions is a rise through the vowel, while the primary cue for statements is a fall through the vowel. The results bear upon a general theory of intonation and our understanding of intonation in Italian as well as on current models of tonal perception in speech.
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This paper r eports a perceptual study using a semantically motivated identification task in which we investigated the nature of two pairs of intonational contrasts in English: (1) normal High accent vs. emphatic High accent; (2) early peak alignment vs. late peak alignment. Unlike previous inquiries, the present study employs an on-line method u sing the Reaction Time measurement, in addition to the measurement of response frequencies. Regarding the peak height continuum, the mean RTs are shortest for within-category identification but longest for across-category identification. As for the peak alignment contrast, no identification boundary emerges and the mean RTs only reflect a difference between peaks aligned with the vowel onset and peaks aligned elsewhere. We conclude that the peak height contrast is discrete but the previously claimed discreteness of the peak alignment contrast is not born out.
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This book is concerned with the meaning and use of two kinds of declarative sentences: 1) It's raining? 2) It's raining. The difference between (1) and (2) is intonational: (1) has a final rise--indicated by the question mark--while (2) ends with a fall. Christine Gunlogson's central claim is that the meaning and use of both kinds of sentences must be understood in terms of the meaning of their defining formal elements, namely declarative sentence type and rising versus falling intonation. Gunlogson supports that claim through an investigation of the use of declaratives as questions. On one hand, Gunlogson demonstrates that rising and falling declaratives share an aspect of conventional meaning attributable to their declarative form, distinguishing them both from the corresponding polar interrogative (Is it raining?) and constraining their use as questions. On the other hand, since (1) and (2) constitute a minimal pair, differing only in intonation, systematic differences in character and function between them--in particular, the relative "naturalness" of (1) as a question compared to (2) --must be located in the contrast between the fall and the rise. To account for these two sets of differences, Gunlogson gives a compositional account of rising and falling declaratives under which declarative form expresses commitment to the propositional content of the declarative. Rising versus falling intonation on declaratives is responsible for attribution of the commitment to the Addressee versus the Speaker, respectively. The result is an inherent contextual "bias" associated with declaratives, which constitutes the crucial point of difference with interrogatives. The compositional analysis is implemented in the framework of context update semantics (Heim 1982 and others), using an articulated version of the Common Ground (Stalnaker 1978) that distinguishes the commitments of the individual discourse participants. Restrictions on the use of declaratives as questions, as well as differences between rising and falling declaratives as questions, are shown to follow from this account. Gunlogson argues that neither rising nor falling declaratives are inherently questioning--rather, the questioning function of declaratives arises through the interaction of sentence type, intonation, and context.
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The importance of pitch range variation for intonational meaning and theory is well known; however, whether pitch range is a phonetic dimension which is treated categorically in English remains unclear. To test this possibility, three intonation continua varying in pitch range were constructed which had endpoints with contrastive representations under autosegmental-metrical (AM) theory: H* vs. L+H*, H* with 'peak delay' vs. L*+H, and %H L* vs. L*. The prediction derived from AM theory was that the reproduction of continuous pitch range variation should show a discrete pattern reflecting a change in the phonological representation of tonal sequences and in the number of tonal targets across each continuum. Participants' reproductions of each stimulus set showed continuous variation in pitch range, suggesting that pitch range is a gradient phonetic dimension in English conveying semantic contrast, similar to the formant space for vowels. Moreover, the gradience observed in productions across all parts of the pitch range suggests that contours within each series had the same number of tonal targets. The results support a version of AM theory in which rises and falls are usually comprised of two tonal targets, with strictly monotonic f(0) interpolation between them.
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An analysis of Pisa Italian speech material revealed the existence of specific pitch accents associated with linguistic functions. Two of these accents are investigated in this paper: a rising accent found in continuation contours, narrow focus and elliptic questions, and a rising-falling accent found in contrastive focus and questions with a strong flavour of disbelief. Two tests were performed both to verify the distinction of the two accents and to try to tease apart the contribution of their main phonetic characteristics to their distinction: a categorical perception test and an imitation test. The results show that the two pitch accents are not perceived through categorical perception, although, in the imitation task, subjects appear to produce two different patterns, showing characteristics consistent with the pitch accents investigated. This suggests that the Categorical Perception paradigm may be not apt to be extensively used for intonation, giving results that appear to be too detached from the actual use of intonation observed in production data.
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An inverse relationship has been claimed to exist between the pitch of phonemic tones and the duration of the tone?bearing syllables [e.g., Blicher et al., J. Phonetics 18, 37?49 (1990)]. If this generalization is correct, syllable duration might be expected to serve as a perceptual cue to tone category. In this study, Cantonese?speaking listeners identified tones in sentence context. A naturally produced Cantonese sentence (/ha6 yat1 go3 zi3 hai6 si3/ ??The next word is to try??) was resynthesized in 25 versions such that the fundamental frequency (F0) contour of the context (the first five syllables) was shifted upwards, 1%, 3%, 6%, 9%, or 12% relative to the original, and the final, target syllable was resynthesized with durations that were 80%, 90%, 101%, 110%, or 120% of the original. We predicted that the higher context F0s and longer target syllable durations would yield more low?tone identification responses. The results of an analysis of variance showed a significant main effect of contextual F0 in the expected direction, but no significant effect of target syllable duration. This last result calls into question the generality of the assumed perceptual relationship between duration and tone category. [Work supported by NIDCD.]
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It is known that certain prosodic aspects of speech play a role in the expression of paralinguistic meaning, yet the concrete mechanisms of how this is implemented have not yet been fleshed out. The present article attempts to explore the contribution of pitch range to the expression of politeness in information-seeking yes–no questions in Catalan. Two perception experiments were carried out with stimuli that contained a gradual increase and decrease of the pitch range at the end of two target intonation contours (rising and falling). The results of the first experiment revealed that, for both contours, increasing the pitch range of the final part of the utterance tone resulted in a decrease of perceived politeness, whereas decreasing the pitch range had no effect. The second perception experiment showed that adding contextual (gestural) information reversed the tendency. Taken together, these results point to the complex interaction between prosodic cues and contextual information (specifically, facial gestures). There is nothing intrinsically polite about using an increased pitch range, unless it is accompanied by consistent contextual information. In sum, when assessing the degree of perceived politeness of an utterance, attention has to be paid to various prosodic aspects together with contextual and gestural information.
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This chapter proposes a consensus system for the annotation of Standard German intonation within the framework of autosegmental-metrical phonology: GToBI. First, it provides a survey of existing studies of German intonation, including traditional auditory approaches as well as more recent phonological studies and instrumental analyses. It then gives a detailed exposition of GToBI, showing how the intonation contours considered to be distinctive in the surveyed works can be captured, and compares GToBI to three earlier autosegmental-metrical approaches to German intonation. Finally, it discusses a number of theoretical issues, such as whether pitch accents need to be represented with leading tones or not, how many levels of phrasing are required, and the status and distribution of phrase accents. © Editorial matter and organization Sun-Ah Jun 2005. All rights reserved.
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Same-different reaction times (RTs) were obtained to pairs of synthetic speech sounds ranging perceptually from /ba/ through /pa/. Listeners responded "same" if both stimuli in a pair were the same phonetic segments (i.e., /ba/-/ba/ or /pa/-/pa/) or "different" if both stimuli were different phonetic segments (i.e., /ba/-/pa/ or /pa/-/ba/). RT for "same" responses was faster to pairs of acoustically identical stimuli (A-A) than to pairs of acoustically different stimuli (A-a) belonging to the same phonetic category. RT for "different" responses was faster for large acoustic differences across a phonetic boundary than for smaller acoustic differences across a phonetic boundary. The results suggest that acoustic information for stop consonants is available to listeners, although the retrieval of this information in discrimination will depend on the level of processing accessed by the particular information processing task.
Article
Theoretical statements on the role of auditory short-term memory in spech perception and discrimination are reviewed. The significant empirical phenomena that fall within the domain of this review are categorical perception, the differences among phonetic classes in auditory persistence, contextual effects in phonetic labeling, and selective adaptation. Many of these observations can be organized by a theory of auditory representation in memory that draws on principles of recurrent lateral inhibition.
Book
Detection Theory is an introduction to one of the most important tools for analysis of data where choices must be made and performance is not perfect. Originally developed for evaluation of electronic detection, detection theory was adopted by psychologists as a way to understand sensory decision making, then embraced by students of human memory. It has since been utilized in areas as diverse as animal behavior and X-ray diagnosis. This book covers the basic principles of detection theory, with separate initial chapters on measuring detection and evaluating decision criteria. Some other features include: complete tools for application, including flowcharts, tables, pointers, and software;. student-friendly language;. complete coverage of content area, including both one-dimensional and multidimensional models;. separate, systematic coverage of sensitivity and response bias measurement;. integrated treatment of threshold and nonparametric approaches;. an organized, tutorial level introduction to multidimensional detection theory;. popular discrimination paradigms presented as applications of multidimensional detection theory; and. a new chapter on ideal observers and an updated chapter on adaptive threshold measurement. This up-to-date summary of signal detection theory is both a self-contained reference work for users and a readable text for graduate students and other researchers learning the material either in courses or on their own. © 2005 by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.
Article
A series of experiments was carried out to test the idea that there is a categorical difference between “normal” and “emphatic” accent peaks in English, rather than a continuum of gradually increasing emphasis. This idea builds on serveral studies previously published in this journal as well as a pilot study of our own. The experimental stimuli were all naturally spoken short utterances containing a single rising-falling pitch accent, resynthesised with modified pitch range. In three classical categorical perception experiments we found good evidence of abrupt shifts in identification from normal to emphatic as pitch range increases, but little evidence of an associated peak in discriminability of stimulus pairs. This suggests that the normal/emphatic distinction may be “categorically interpreted” but not categorically perceived. Additionally, we report a consistent but puzzling order-of-presentation effect that bears further investigation.
Article
Zusammenfassung In diesem Artikel wird die Beziehung zwischen Evidentialität und epistemischer Modalität unter sprachübergreifender Perspektive untersucht. Es wird gezeigt, daß diese beiden Phänomene – entgegen der gängigen Forschungsmeinung – in keiner engen Beziehung stehen. Vielmehr handelt es sich um unterschiedliche Thematisierungen der Rolle des Sprechers: Evidentiale nehmen Bezug auf die Evidenz, über die ein Sprecher verfügt, während epistemische Modale eine Behauptung mit Bezug auf das, was der Sprecher für wahr hält, be-werten. Darüber hinaus wird gezeigt, daß für das Verständnis des germanischen Modalverb-systems das Konzept der ‚Konfirmativität' erforderlich ist.
Article
This article addresses two related questions regarding the perception of facial markers of prominence in spoken utterances: (1) how important are visual cues to prominence from the face with respect to auditory cues? and (2) are there differences between different facial areas in their cue value for prosodic prominence? The first perception experiment tackles the relation between auditory and visual cues by means of a reaction-time experiment. For this experiment, recordings of a sentence with three prosodically prominent words were systematically manipulated in such a way that auditory and visual cues to prominence were either congruent (occurring on the same word) or incongruent (in that the auditory and the visual cue were positioned on different words). Participants were instructed to indicate as fast as possible which word they perceived as the most prominent one. Results show that participants can more easily determine prominence when the visual cue occurs on the same word as the auditory cue, while displaced visual cues hinder prominence perception. The second experiment investigates which area of a speaker's face contains the strongest cues to prominence, using stimuli with either the entire face visible or only parts of it. The task of the participants was to indicate for each stimulus which word they perceived as the most prominent one. Results show that the upper facial area has stronger cue value for prominence detection than the bottom part, and that the left part of the face is more important than the right part. Results of mirror-images of the original fragments show that this latter result is due both to a speaker and an observer effect.
Conference Paper
The experiment presented in this paper examines categorical perception as well as the perceptual magnet effect in German boundary tones, taking also context information into account. The test phrase is preceded by different context sentences that are assumed to affect the location of the category boundary in the stimulus continuum between the low and the high boundary tone. Results provide evidence for the existence of a low and a high boundary tone in German, corresponding to statement ver- sus question interpretation, respectively. Furthermore, in con- trast to previous findings, a prototype was found not only in the category of the low but also in the category of the high bound- ary tone, supporting the hypothesis that context might have been taken into account to solve a possible ambiguity between H% and a previously hypothesized non-low and non-terminal boundary tone. Index Terms: speech prosody, categorical perception, percep- tual magnet effect