The sound of quotation marks: Prosodic characteristics of subclausal quotation in English

Bethany Sturman


Subclausal quotation (SQ, also known as partial quotation or mixed quotation) is a phenomenon in which the utterance contains material, typically an NP or DP, attributed to a source other than the speaker (e.g. Angela thinks it's an insult when she calls me a "genius."). Though there has been significant discussion of SQ from a semantic perspective, little work has been done to understand the intonation accompanying this construction. Using data from a production experiment, National Public Radio, and from television comedies such as "The Office," this paper seeks to identify the fundamental prosodic features that characterize SQ intonation in Mainstream American English using the MAE_ToBI system. These features include an Emphatic Juncture (i.e. an IP juncture with a plateau boundary tone sequence followed by an obligatory pause) delimiting the start of the quotation, a pitch range reset (often an expansion) on the quoted material, and an IP break marking the end of the quotation. This break is realized with an L-L% or L-H% boundary tone sequence. Following the quotation, the speaker returns to their pre-quotation pitch register. SQ can optionally be marked lexically using "quote" to indicate the beginning, although the accompanying "unquote" is rarely employed.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-85

Cite as: Sturman, B. (2020) The sound of quotation marks: Prosodic characteristics of subclausal quotation in English. Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020, 414-418, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-85.


@inproceedings{Sturman2020,
  author={Bethany Sturman},
  title={{The sound of quotation marks: Prosodic characteristics of subclausal quotation in English}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020},
  pages={414--418},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-85},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-85}
}