ISCA Archive SpeechProsody 2022
ISCA Archive SpeechProsody 2022

The prosodic and gestural marking of the information status of referents in children’s narrative speech: A longitudinal study

Sara Munoz-Coego, Júlia Florit-Pons, Patrick Louis Rohrer, Ingrid Vilà-Giménez, Pilar Prieto

Developmental studies have claimed that 5- to 7-year-old children use prosodic prominence to mark the status of referential expressions in discourse, where new and accessible referents tend to be prosodically more prominent than given referents. Studies on the gestural marking of information structure have shown that gestures tend to co-occur more frequently with new and focused referents in adult and child speech. Although prosody and gesture are tightly integrated in speech, to our knowledge no previous approach has jointly looked at the development of these multimodal cues as markers of the information status of referents. The present study investigates how Catalan-speaking children use prosody and manual gestures to signal the information status of referents in narrative speech. A longitudinal database was used containing elicited narratives by 83 children at two points in development (5-6 and 7-9 years old). Results showed that new referents (in contrast with accessible and given referents) were signaled through the use of non-referential gestures, specially at the ages of 7-9, and through nuclear accentuation already at the ages of 5-6. Results also revealed that all types of referents were pitch accented at both points in development, regardless of their information status.


doi: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-82

Cite as: Munoz-Coego, S., Florit-Pons, J., Rohrer, P.L., Vilà-Giménez, I., Prieto, P. (2022) The prosodic and gestural marking of the information status of referents in children’s narrative speech: A longitudinal study. Proc. Speech Prosody 2022, 401-405, doi: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-82

@inproceedings{munozcoego22_speechprosody,
  author={Sara Munoz-Coego and Júlia Florit-Pons and Patrick Louis Rohrer and Ingrid Vilà-Giménez and Pilar Prieto},
  title={{The prosodic and gestural marking of the information status of referents in children’s narrative speech: A longitudinal study}},
  year=2022,
  booktitle={Proc. Speech Prosody 2022},
  pages={401--405},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-82}
}