Speech Prosody 2008

Campinas, Brazil
May 6-9, 2008

Use of L+H* for Immediate Contrast Resolution

Kiwako Ito, Shari R. Speer

Department of Linguistics, Ohio State University, USA

Previous eye tracking studies demonstrated that a prominent L+H* accent in English instructions evoked a contrastive relationship between discourse referents, immediately guiding listeners’ eye movements to contrastive candidates in the visual scene. However, the visual layout in the previous study conflated looks to contrastive candidates with those to previously fixated object groups, thus calling into question the cause of the very early fixations to contrastive targets. In order to eliminate the possibility that L+H* evokes contrast only when the visual layout allows easy detection of the target, the current experiment used layouts where contrastive candidates had separate visual domains. The results confirm the immediate effect of L+H*, demonstrating a faster increase in fixations to contrastive targets than with H*. In addition, results show an intonational ‘garden-path effect’ due to the immediate integration of L+H* as contrast marking accent.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Ito, Kiwako / Speer, Shari R. (2008): "Use of l+h* for immediate contrast resolution", In SP-2008, 465-468.