ISCA Archive SpeechProsody 2022
ISCA Archive SpeechProsody 2022

Prosody and cognitive accessibility in left-detached topics: lessons from Nigerian Pidgin

Emmett Strickland, Anne Lacheret-Dujour, Candide Simard

In Nigerian Pidgin, or Naija, a language spoken by some 100 million people in Nigeria, the role of prosody in topic-marking remains an understudied question, particularly with regards to the way in which speakers distinguish between topics which are readily present in the minds of their interlocutors, and less cognitively accessible ones such as those being introduced for the first time. Advances in the field of natural language processing have yielded effective methods for the automatic extraction of stylized prosodic contours from aligned sound files, facilitating the wide-scale study of syntactic units and their melodic properties. Through a combination of manual pragmatic annotation, automatic prosodic stylization, and exploratory statistical analysis, we aim to better understand the prosodic differences between categories of left-detached topics. We hypothesize that there exists a clear relationship between the cognitive accessibility of topics and their associated prosodic contours. More precisely, the most cognitively accessible topics will be characterized by falling F0 contours with low fundamental frequency ranges. Conversely, we consider that less accessible topics will be associated with rising contours and ones covering wide frequency ranges. We also postulate that contours ending in a very high final pitch will be almost exclusive to less accessible topics.


doi: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-4

Cite as: Strickland, E., Lacheret-Dujour, A., Simard, C. (2022) Prosody and cognitive accessibility in left-detached topics: lessons from Nigerian Pidgin. Proc. Speech Prosody 2022, 17-21, doi: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-4

@inproceedings{strickland22_speechprosody,
  author={Emmett Strickland and Anne Lacheret-Dujour and Candide Simard},
  title={{Prosody and cognitive accessibility in left-detached topics: lessons from Nigerian Pidgin}},
  year=2022,
  booktitle={Proc. Speech Prosody 2022},
  pages={17--21},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-4}
}