Head beats as pitch-accompanying visual correlates of primary and secondary lexical stress: evidence from Stockholm Swedish compounds

Anneliese Kelterer, Gilbert Ambrazaitis, David House


This study examines the interplay of (verbal) prosody with (visual) head and eyebrow movements in a 24-minute corpus of Swedish television news readings. The paper focuses on ‘double’ beat gestures, asking whether their occurrence relates to a word’s lexical prominence structure (simplex; compound), to lexical tonal prosody (Accent 1; Accent 2), or rather to prominence levels (+/- focal accent; +/- nuclear position). The results suggest that double eyebrow beats are a marginal phenomenon. Double head beats are also rare (of the 688 words in our 4088-word corpus annotated for head beats, 28 have double head beats), but their usage follows a clear pattern: There is no preference for the nuclear position, but a strong preference to occur on a focally-accented compound (Accent 2), which is usually realized with two pitch peaks. In conjunction with previous findings on (single) head beats, the present results suggest that a head beat in this type of data can associate with lexical (primary or secondary) stress in case the stressed syllable is also marked by a (tonal or intonational) pitch peak.


 DOI: 10.21437/TAL.2018-25

Cite as: Kelterer, A., Ambrazaitis, G., House, D. (2018) Head beats as pitch-accompanying visual correlates of primary and secondary lexical stress: evidence from Stockholm Swedish compounds. Proc. TAL2018, Sixth International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages, 124-128, DOI: 10.21437/TAL.2018-25.


@inproceedings{Kelterer2018,
  author={ Anneliese Kelterer and Gilbert Ambrazaitis and David House},
  title={ Head beats as pitch-accompanying visual correlates of primary and secondary lexical stress: evidence from Stockholm Swedish compounds},
  year=2018,
  booktitle={Proc. TAL2018, Sixth International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages},
  pages={124--128},
  doi={10.21437/TAL.2018-25},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/TAL.2018-25}
}