Speech Prosody 2002
The present paper reports on a listening comprehension test in which the subjects task was to decide whether they felt there was an intended causal relation or an intended concessive relation between the conditional clause proposition and the main clause proposition expressed in a set of Norwegian spoken conditionals. In order to do that they had to select a context that would enable them to resolve the reference of the Norwegian concessive anaphor likevel (nevertheless or after all) which occurred in the main clause of each stimulus. We wanted to test the strength of various phonologically discrete prosodic cues relative to the importance of differences in the linear order of syntactic constituents or the occurrence of certain function words in the utterance. The prosodic features proved to be remarkably robust cues to the activation of a specific context. Not only did we find that stimuli which differed only in their prosodic form displayed consistent differences in the test subjects response patterns but we even found that prosodic features at the utterance level can neutralize the effect of function words that would otherwise help the hearer activate a contrasting context for utterance interpretation (paragraphs 3.1. and 3.3.).
Bibliographic reference. Fretheim, Thorstein / Dommelen, Wim A. van (2002): "Norwegian intonation and the resolution of concessive anaphora", In SP-2002, 307-310.