Prosodic marking of information status in Dutch and Italian: a comparative analysis. Swerts, M.; Krahmer, E. J; and Avesani, C. Journal of Phonetics, 30(4):629--654, 2002. bibtex: swerts_prosodic_2002
abstract   bibtex   
This article reports on a comparative analysis of accentuation strategies within Italian and Dutch noun phrases (NPs). Its goal is not only to gain insight into what speakers do, but also into how listeners' perception and interpretation of incoming speech in different languages is affected by the distribution of accents. To this end, use is made of a particular experimental paradigm, which makes it possible to compare accent patterns in different languages from an acoustic, perceptual and functional point of view. Accent patterns were obtained via a simple dialogue game played by eight Dutch speakers and eight Italian ones. In this way, target descriptions of all speakers were obtained in the following four contexts: all new, single contrast in the adjective, single contrast in the noun, and double contrast. The accent patterns in these Dutch and Italian utterances were then compared in three different studies. Study 1 looks at accent distribution and finds that, in Dutch, new and contrastive information are accented, while given information is not; in Italian, distribution is not a significant factor in distinguishing information status, since within the elicited NPs both adjective and noun are always accented, irrespective of the status of the discourse context. Study 2 consists of prominence tests to investigate whether the accents differ in the degree of perceived emphasis. In Dutch, information status is reflected in these prominence differences: single contrastive accents are perceived to be the most emphatic, and given words the least emphatic. In Italian, it is less clear how gradient differences between accents can be linked to aspects of the discourse context. Study 3 presents a functional analysis of accent patterns exploring whether listeners are able to reconstruct a preceding utterance on the basis of prosodic properties of the current utterance. While this is possible for Dutch listeners, this is not at all the case for Italian listeners.
@article{swerts_prosodic_2002,
	Abstract = {This article reports on a comparative analysis of accentuation strategies within Italian and Dutch noun phrases (NPs). Its goal is not only to gain insight into what speakers do, but also into how listeners' perception and interpretation of incoming speech in different languages is affected by the distribution of accents. To this end, use is made of a particular experimental paradigm, which makes it possible to compare accent patterns in different languages from an acoustic, perceptual and functional point of view. Accent patterns were obtained via a simple dialogue game played by eight Dutch speakers and eight Italian ones. In this way, target descriptions of all speakers were obtained in the following four contexts: all new, single contrast in the adjective, single contrast in the noun, and double contrast. The accent patterns in these Dutch and Italian utterances were then compared in three different studies. Study 1 looks at accent distribution and finds that, in Dutch, new and contrastive information are accented, while given information is not; in Italian, distribution is not a significant factor in distinguishing information status, since within the elicited NPs both adjective and noun are always accented, irrespective of the status of the discourse context. Study 2 consists of prominence tests to investigate whether the accents differ in the degree of perceived emphasis. In Dutch, information status is reflected in these prominence differences: single contrastive accents are perceived to be the most emphatic, and given words the least emphatic. In Italian, it is less clear how gradient differences between accents can be linked to aspects of the discourse context. Study 3 presents a functional analysis of accent patterns exploring whether listeners are able to reconstruct a preceding utterance on the basis of prosodic properties of the current utterance. While this is possible for Dutch listeners, this is not at all the case for Italian listeners.},
	Author = {Swerts, Marc and Krahmer, Emiel J and Avesani, Cinzia},
	Journal = {Journal of Phonetics},
	Keywords = {acoustic phonetics, contrastive, Dutch, intonation, Italian, phonetics, pragmatics, prosody, speech perception},
	Note = {bibtex: swerts\_prosodic\_2002},
	Number = {4},
	Pages = {629--654},
	Title = {Prosodic marking of information status in {Dutch} and {Italian}: a comparative analysis},
	Volume = {30},
	Year = {2002}}
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