Speech Prosody 2006

Dresden, Germany
May 2-5, 2006

Tonal Constituents and Meanings of Yes-No Questions in American English

Nancy Hedberg, Juan M. Sosa, Lorna Fadden

Department of Linguistics, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C., Canada

We analyzed the different meanings associated with the tonal contours of 104 positive yes-no questions from the CallHome Corpus of American English. We take into consideration such broad constituents as the head, nucleus and tail of intonational phrases, as well as ToBI sequences of pitch accents, phrase accents and boundary tones. The meaning of a question as unmarked or marked in a variety of ways is shown to depend upon the intonational contours associated with these broad constituents, and even with the contour associated with the question as a whole.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Hedberg, Nancy / Sosa, Juan M. / Fadden, Lorna (2006): "Tonal constituents and meanings of yes-no questions in american English", In SP-2006, paper 055.