Speech Prosody 2004

Nara, Japan
March 23-26, 2004

Speech Chunks in Conversation: Syntactic and Prosodic Aspects

Eva Strangert

Department of Philosophy and Linguistics, Phonetics, Umeå University, Sweden

The paper reports on syntactic and prosodic analyses of speech chunks - the sequences of speech between perceived boundaries - in conversation. Comparisons with read-aloud speech are also included. The data analysis shows that of the total number of chunks in the conversation, almost 80% had endings coinciding with a syntactic boundary, while about 20% violated syntactic continuity by the occurrence of a boundary occurring in syntactically unmotivated positions. Suspension mainly occurred after initial function words close to the beginning of the constituent in accordance with the hypothesis of initial commitment. The results are discussed in terms of the commit-and-restore model developed by Clark & Wasow (1998), offering a linguistic-cognitive approach to speech processing.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Strangert, Eva (2004): "Speech chunks in conversation: syntactic and prosodic aspects", In SP-2004, 305-308.