Speech Prosody 2008
The goal of the present study was to test the hypothesis that specific prosodic features are systematically associated with modes of enunciation, and that such prosodic features are independent from the semio-syntactic structure of the sentence. Modes of enunciation correspond generally to sentence types: Assertive, Imperative, Interrogative and Affective (Brandt, 1971; 2008). Semio-syntactic structures are defined as elementary grammatical structures composed minimally of a head and one of the core complements, Subject, Predicative, Object, Dative and Agent. Modes of enunciation are associated with semio-syntactic structure at the level of linearization of meaning, when words and morphemes are selected to communicate the semantic content. Intonation contours associated with different modes of enunciation, were categorized based on the Tilt labeling system. Two groups of 3 sentences with two different semio-syntactic structures, were realized with the four different sentence modes. All sentences were read once by 4 professional actors.
Preliminary results seem to show a systematic expression of the sentence mode at the prosodic level, across speakers, for Assertive, Imperative and Affective mode (Anger) only. Recurrent intonation contours appeared not to be exclusively related to the mode of enunciation, but to be typical to the semio-syntactic structure, supporting the hypothesis that prosody connects phonetics to semantics, or semantics to phonetics, through grammar.
Bibliographic reference. Bonaventura, Patrizia / Brandt, Per Aage (2008): "Sentence modes and prosodic phrasing", In SP-2008, 655-660.