Prosodic phrasing, viz. the grouping of words into phrases by their rhythmic and durational properties as well as their tonal pitch, is central to language comprehension and to discourse coherence. Spoken language is highly transitory and irreversible: The ‘present’ of spoken language is limited to the time span within which the hearer draws his attention to it, and spoken language is chunked into prosodic units, presumably used as basic units of discourse processing. First, this project aims at exploring how prosodic boundaries in spoken language are perceived by untrained, ordinary listeners. What is the relationship between the prosodic cues (pause, lengthening, melodic discontinuity) and the perceived strength of prosodic boundaries? To what extent does the syntactic structure contribute to the perception of prosodic boundaries? Can naïve listeners consistently assign a value of perceptual boundary strength to word boundaries? Once those questions have been answered, we will turn to the analysis of the contribution of prosodic boundaries to discourse coherence.
2016 - 2018
Anne Catherine Simon (PI)
George Christodoulides (postdoc)
Ivana Didirkova (postdoc)
Nassima Fezza (postdoc)