Tonal specification of speaker commitment in Salerno Italian wh-questions

Riccardo Orrico, Mariapaola D'Imperio


The paper addresses the issue of variability in the mapping between intonation and meaning. The general hypothesis tested is that variation of both the phonological and phonetic levels of intonation reflects speaker’s commitment to the proposition expressed. We report an investigation of the intonational meaning in wh-questions in Salerno Italian. Results showed that both nuclear pitch accent type and its relative excursion are crucial cues for the difference between information-seeking and echo wh-questions. Results were interpreted as indicating the presence vs absence of speaker commitment to a salient proposition evoked by the wh-question. Boundary choice, on the other hand, was found to be dependent on speaker specific strategies. Finally, results call for the need of an intonational meaning model that takes into account individual variability.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-74

Cite as: Orrico, R., D'Imperio, M. (2020) Tonal specification of speaker commitment in Salerno Italian wh-questions. Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020, 361-365, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-74.


@inproceedings{Orrico2020,
  author={Riccardo Orrico and Mariapaola D'Imperio},
  title={{Tonal specification of speaker commitment in Salerno Italian wh-questions}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020},
  pages={361--365},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-74},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-74}
}