Research Seminar: Johannes Heim

Johannes Heim will present a research seminar on Prosodic Correlates of Speaker Commitment and Addressee Engagement.


Abstract: Assertions and questions are among the few dialogical conventions universally attested (Sadock & Zwicky 1985). English can distinguish them by word order and sentence-final intonation (SFI). My talk explores the role of SFI for the conversational effects of different types of questions and assertions independently of the role of word-order. Specifically, I present experimental results from two perception studies that tested the influence of pitch excursion and duration of SFI for ratings of speaker confidence and response expectations. My findings suggest that there are prosodic correlates for two pragmatic parameters, which can be used to characterize the conversational effects of questions, assertions, and other speech acts that fall in-between this distinction.


*Note: This event is eligible for LOC credit. That said, we remind students to please treat this event respectfully: please attend only if you are able to be present for the entire presentation and discussion (within the posted time limits, i.e. arriving by 12:30 and staying until 1:30), and understand that this is a high-level, research-oriented session. The topic and discussion may not be entirely accessible to those without a fair bit of linguistic training.