Speech Prosody 2010

Chicago, IL, USA
May 10-14, 2010

On the Intonation of Confirmation-Seeking Requests in Child-Directed Speech

Ana Isabel Mata, Ana Lúcia Santos

FLUL/CLUL, University of Lisbon, Portugal

In this paper we identify intonation cues that can disambiguate confirmation-seeking questions in adult-child dialogue in European Portuguese (EP). 301 examples of confirmation requests answered by two children and uttered by three different adults were analysed. Results show that (i) most confirmation-seeking questions (92.7%) do not present the intonation pattern previously identified for informationseeking questions in EP; (ii) pragmatic/discourse values of confirmation-seeking questions affect pitch accent type distribution and F0 height of both nuclear pitch accents and final boundary tones; (iii) L*+H and ^H*, previously associated with narrow/contrastive focus in questions or with correction of given information, are associated with nonneutral acceptance in confirmation requests. We interpret nonneutral acceptance as an instance of Contrast and suggest that Contrast is coded across different contexts and structures by the same pitch accents.

Index Terms: intonation, confirmation-seeking questions, child-directed speech

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Mata, Ana Isabel / Santos, Ana Lúcia (2010): "On the intonation of confirmation-seeking requests in child-directed speech", In SP-2010, paper 118.