12th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Florence, Italy
August 27-31. 2011

Variation of Accent Type and of Context - Influences on Pragmatic Focus Interpretation

Charlotte Wollermann (1), Ulrich Schade (1), Bernhard Schröder (2)

(1) Universität Bonn, Germany
(2) Universität Duisburg-Essen, Germany

We present an empirical study on the variation of accent type and of context on pragmatic focus interpretation. The material was based on audio-recordings of nine German speakers who were instructed to read dialogues with embedded question-answer pairs in which the answers constituted the pragmatic focus of the utterance. Different accent types occurred for marking the focus constituent. The audio-material was presented to 53 subjects. Interpretation was tested by using pictures intended to illustrate the (non-)exhaustive reading. When presenting the picture illustrating the non-exhaustive reading, the results show in general a significant influence of both context and prosody, but the contextual influence is stronger.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Wollermann, Charlotte / Schade, Ulrich / Schröder, Bernhard (2011): "Variation of accent type and of context - influences on pragmatic focus interpretation", In INTERSPEECH-2011, 1077-1080.