8th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Antwerp, Belgium
August 27-31, 2007

Topic in Dialogue: Prosodic and Syntactic Features

Claudia Crocco (1), Renata Savy (2)

(1) Ghent University, Belgium
(2) University of Salerno, Italy

We investigate the relationship between phonetic phrasing, tonal pattern and phrase structure in left peripherical sentence topic. Our corpus consists of three task-oriented Italian dialogues. The results of prosodic analysis show that topics are usually associated to the highest pitch values in the Tone Unit, regardless to their actual syntactic position. Syntactic analysis shows that, while topic phrase structure is rather variable, topic function is quite stable, i.e., topics have mostly circumstantial-locative function, and less frequently subject function. Finally, phonetic phrasing, prominence placement and phrase structure shows clearly regular relationships.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Crocco, Claudia / Savy, Renata (2007): "Topic in dialogue: prosodic and syntactic features", In INTERSPEECH-2007, 114-117.