Speech Prosody 2004

Nara, Japan
March 23-26, 2004

Meanings and Configurations of Questions in English

Nancy Hedberg, Juan M. Sosa, Lorna Fadden

Department of Linguistics, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada

This is a study of the interface between meaning and prosodic structure. Five syntactic types of questions were examined: positive yes/no, negative yes/no, positive declarative, negative declarative and wh-questions. 113 examples of English questions from the CallHome corpus were analyzed with respect to the effect nuclear tunes have on their meaning. We conclude that the direction of the final contour is the fundamental prosodic contributor to interactional pragmatic meaning.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Hedberg, Nancy / Sosa, Juan M. / Fadden, Lorna (2004): "Meanings and configurations of questions in English", In SP-2004, 309-312.