Sixth European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology

Budapest, Hungary
September 5-9, 1999

Prominence Variation Beyond Given/New

Christine H. Nakatani

Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, Murray Hill, NJ, USA

Prominence variation is known to be determined in part by discourse factors, such as the givenness or newness of the discourse entity being realized to the discourse. However, few empirical studies have been carried out to explain a wider range of phenomena occurring in natural speech corpora. In this study, corpus linguistics methods are applied to a task-oriented monologue corpus to show that the given/new dichotomy does not explain the data at hand. Rather, there are marked linguistic configurations in which discourse focusing status combines with other linguistic cues to meaning - such as grammatical function and form of referring expression - to convey subtle shades of given/new that can be captured by using a computational discourse model to define attentional focusing status.

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Bibliographic reference.  Nakatani, Christine H. (1999): "Prominence variation beyond given/new", In EUROSPEECH'99, 547-550.