Speech Prosody 2008

Campinas, Brazil
May 6-9, 2008

The Role of L+H* Pitch Accent in Discourse Construction

Ross Metusalem, Kiwako Ito

Department of Linguistics, The Ohio State University, USA

L+H* is claimed to evoke contrast between discourse entities in English. To test whether this prominent accent projects a contrastive relation for the discourse foreground, spontaneous continuations of short stories were examined. For both subject and object positions, participants mentioned contrastive alternatives more often when the corresponding discourse entity was introduced with L+H* in the context. Also, the presence of L+H* on a discourse marker (e.g., And NEXT) that preceded the continuation facilitated the mention of the contrastive subject/object. These results do not merely confirm the function of L+H* on arguments in projecting contrastive relations, but also uncovers the facilitative mediation of the contrastive relation by L+H* on a discourse marker.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Metusalem, Ross / Ito, Kiwako (2008): "The role of l+h* pitch accent in discourse construction", In SP-2008, 493-496.