Portrait of Professor Amalia Arvaniti

Professor Amalia Arvaniti

Professor of Linguistics
Research Ethics Advisory Group Representative


Professor Amalia Arvaniti received her PhD from the Department of Linguistics at the University of Cambridge in 1991 and has since held research and teaching appointments at the University of California, San Diego, the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, the University of Edinburgh, King's College London and the University of Cyprus. 

Amalia is one of the pioneers of Laboratory Phonology, which uses experimental research methods to test linguistic models of sound structure. Her research on prosody, which has been widely published and cited, has yielded crucial insights into the production, perception and linguistic structure of intonation and has challenged traditional views on the nature of speech rhythm and rhythmic typology. A large part of her research has contributed to our knowledge on Greek phonetics and phonology and to aspects of Greek dialectology and sociolinguistic variation. Her current research focuses on intonation modelling, intonational pragmatics, bilingual production and perception, and recent developments in Greek diglossia. 

Amalia’s research has been supported by grants from various sources, including the UK's Economic and Social Research Council, the European Science Foundation, the British Academy, the Academy of Korean Studies, and the National Science Foundation (US). She is currently the recipient of a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship on “Politics and linguistic variation in a post-diglossic speech community” to study the sound structures of post-diglossic Greek. In March 2019, Amalia was also awarded a €2,500,000 Advanced ERC grant, titled SPRINT: Speech Prosody in Interaction: The form and function of intonation in human communication

Amalia is the Editor of the Journal of the International Phonetic Association. She also serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of PhoneticsPhonologyJournal of Greek Linguistics, and the Studies in Laboratory Phonology series of Language Science Press.

More information is available on Amalia’s personal website

Research interests

Amalia’s research focuses on phonetics and its relation to phonology, bilingualism, and sociophonetics. Her research interests include the production and perception of prosody (especially of stress, rhythm and intonation), cross-linguistic intonational pragmatics, bilingualism, sociophonetics (especially of English and Greek). 

The main languages her research focuses on are English and Greek, but she has also published and continues to do research on Korean, Polish, and Romani.

Amalia is interested in supervising PhD research on phonetics, particularly on topics pertaining to the study of prosody, bilingualism and sociophonetics.    


Amalia’s teaching includes phonetics, phonology and research methods at MA level; and phonology, prosody, and language and gender at undergraduate level. 


Showing 50 of 94 total publications in the Kent Academic Repository. View all publications.


  • Baltazani, M., Gryllia, S. and Arvaniti, A. (2019). The intonation and pragmatics of Greek wh-questions. Language and Speech [Online]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/0023830918823236.
    We experimentally tested three hypotheses regarding the pragmatics of two tunes (one high-ending, one flat-ending) used with Greek wh-questions: (a) the high-ending tune is associated with information-seeking questions, while the flat-ending tune is also appropriate when wh-questions are not information-seeking in which case their function can instead be akin to that of a statement; (b) the high-ending tune is more polite, and (c) more appropriate for contexts leading to information-seeking questions. The wh-questions used as experimental stimuli were elicited from four speakers in contexts likely to lead to either information-seeking or non-information-seeking uses. The speakers produced distinct tunes in response to the contexts; acoustic analysis indicates these are best analysed as L*+H L-!H% (rising), and L+H* L-L% (flat). In a perception experiment where participants heard the questions out of context, they chose answers providing information significantly more frequently after high-ending than flat-ending questions, confirming hypothesis (a). In a second experiment testing hypotheses (b) and (c), participants evaluated wh-questions for appropriateness and politeness in information- and non-information-seeking contexts. High-ending questions were rated more appropriate in information-seeking contexts, and more polite independently of context relative to their flat-ending counterparts. Finally, two follow-up experiments showed that the interpretation of the two tunes was not affected by voice characteristics of individual speakers, and confirmed a participant preference for the high-ending tune. Overall, the results support our hypotheses and lead to a compositional analysis of the meaning of the two tunes, while also showing that intonational meaning is determined by both tune and pragmatic context.
  • Piccinini, P. and Arvaniti, A. (2018). Dominance, mode, and individual variation in bilingual speech production and perception. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism [Online]. Available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.1075/lab.17027.pic.
    Early Spanish-English bilinguals and English controls were tested on the production and
    perception of negative, short-lag, and long-lag Voice Onset Time (VOT). These VOT types
    span Spanish and English phonetic categories. Phonologically, negative and short-lag VOT
    stops are distinct phonemes in Spanish, while both are realizations of voiced stops in English.
    Dominance was critical: more English-dominant bilinguals produced more short-lag VOT
    stops in response to negative VOT stimuli, and were less accurate than more balanced
    bilinguals at discriminating negative from short-lag VOT. Bilinguals performed similarly to
    monolinguals overall, but they produced more negative VOT tokens and shorter short-lag VOT
    in response to negative VOT. Their productions were also less well correlated with perception
    and showed more variation between individuals. These results highlight the variable nature of
    bilingual production and perception, and demonstrate the need to consider language
    dominance, individual variation, as well as modalities and tasks when studying bilinguals.
  • Jeon, H. and Arvaniti, A. (2017). Effects of rhythm and phrase-final lengthening on word-spotting in Korean. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America [Online] 141. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4983178.
    A word-spotting experiment was conducted to investigate whether rhythmic consistency and phrase-final lengthening facilitate performance in Korean. Listeners had to spot disyllabic and trisyllabic words in nonsense strings organized in phrases with either the same or variable syllable count; phrase-final lengthening was absent, or occurring either in all phrases or only in the phrase immediately preceding the target. The results show that, for disyllabic targets, inconsistent syllable count and lengthening before the target led to fewer errors. For trisyllabic targets, accuracy was at ceiling, but final lengthening in all phrases reduced reaction times. The results imply that both rhythmic consistency (i.e., regular syllable count) and phrase-final lengthening play a role in word-spotting and, by extension, in speech processing in Korean, as in other languages. However, the results also reflect the language specific role of prosodic cues. First, the cues here were used primarily with disyllabic targets, which were cognitively more demanding to process partly due to their high phonological neighborhood density. Second, the facilitating effect of rhythmic consistency was weak, possibly because strict consistency is not present in spoken Korean. Overall, rhythmic consistency facilitated spotting when targets mapped onto phrases, confirming the importance of phrasal organization in Korean speech processing.
  • Arvaniti, A., Zygis, M. and Jaskula, M. (2017). The Phonetics and Phonology of the Polish Calling Melodies. Phonetica [Online] 73:342-365. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000446001.
    Two calling melodies of Polish were investigated, the routine call, used to call someone for an everyday reason, and the urgent call, which conveys disapproval of the addressee’s actions. A Discourse Completion Task was used to elicit the two melodies from speakers of Polish using twelve names from one to four syllables long; there were three names per syllable count, and speakers produced three tokens of each name with each melody. The results, based on eleven speakers, show that the routine calling melody consists of a low F0 stretch followed by a rise-fall-rise; the urgent calling melody, on the other hand, is a simple rise-fall. Systematic differences were found in the scaling and alignment of tonal targets: the routine call showed late alignment of the accentual pitch peak and in most instances lower scaling of targets. The accented vowel was also affected, being overall louder in the urgent call. Based on the data and comparisons with other Polish melodies, we analyse the routine call as LH* !H-H% and the urgent call as H* L-L%. We discuss the results and our analysis in light of recent findings on calling melodies in other languages, and explore their repercussions for intonational phonology and the modelling of intonation.
  • Protopapas, A. et al. (2016). Priming stress patterns in word recognition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance [Online] 42:1739-1760. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xhp0000259.
    This study addresses the lexical representation of stress in a series of five intra-modal
    and cross-modal priming experiments in the Greek language using lexical decision tasks
    with auditory and visual targets. Three-syllable primes and targets were matched in
    first syllable segments, length, and other variables, and differed segmentally in the
    second and third syllable. Primes matched or mismatched targets in stress, which was
    placed on the penultimate or antepenultimate syllable. There was no evidence for stress
    priming in either accuracy or latency of responses to either words or pseudowords in
    any of these experiments, either intra-modally or cross-modally. In contrast, a control
    fragment priming experiment using only the first two syllables of the primes produced a
    significant effect of stress congruence for words but not for pseudowords. The results
    are interpreted in the context of previous findings in the literature as arising from
    lexical activation rather than from matching stress patterns. Overall, findings are
    consistent with lexical representations including stress information that is inseparable
    from segmental specification, rather than with abstract representations of metrical
  • Arvaniti, A. (2016). Analytical decisions in intonation research and the role of representations: Lessons from Romani. Laboratory Phonology: Journal of the Association for Laboratory Phonology [Online] 7:1-43. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/labphon.14.
    This paper presents an analysis of the intonational system of Greek Thrace Romani. The analysis serves to highlight the difficulties that spontaneous fieldwork data pose for traditional methods of intonational research largely developed for use with controlled speech elicited in the laboratory or under laboratory-like conditions from educated speakers of standardized languages. It leads to proposing a set of principles and procedures which can help deal with the variability inherent in spontaneous data; these principles and procedures apply particularly to data from less homogeneous speech communities but are relevant for the intonation analysis of any linguistic system. This approach relies on the understanding that autosegmental-metrical representations of intonation are phonological representations, not means of faithfully depicting pitch contours per se. It follows that representations should capture what is contrastive in the intonational system under analysis. In turn, this entails that new categories are posited, taking the meaning of tonal events into account and after due consideration of all legitimate sources of phonetic variation. It is argued that following this procedure allows for more robust analyses and is particularly advantageous when data are highly variable. This view is discussed in light of the analysis of Greek Thrace Romani, and in combination with recent proposals for greater uniformity and phonetic transparency in intonational representations, traits which are said to lead to greater insights in typological and cross-varietal research. It is shown that these goals are not better served by a level of broad phonetic transcription which encodes an arbitrary selection of phonetic variants.
  • Piccinini, P. and Arvaniti, A. (2015). Voice onset time in Spanish-English spontaneous code-switching. Journal of Phonetics [Online] 52:121-137. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wocn.2015.07.004.
    Research on the phonetics of code-switching has focused on voice onset time (VOT) and has
    yielded mixed results regarding cross-language interaction, possibly due to differences in data used
    (scripted vs. spontaneous speech) and populations examined (L1 vs. L2 dominant, early vs. late
    bilinguals). Here VOT was measured in a corpus of spontaneous code-switching speech elicited
    from a homogeneous group of early bilinguals in conversation with and without distraction
    (completion of jigsaw puzzles). The distraction meant to increase cognitive load, a manipulation
    that could affect phonetic realization. Both English and Spanish VOT were shorter at codeswitching
    points than in comparable monolingual utterances. English VOT lengthened overall under
    increased cognitive load (but remained shorter in code-switching as compared to the monolingual
    context). These results support previous findings of VOT shortening in code-switching for both
    English and Spanish, and confirm that the effect applies in the natural speech of early bilinguals.
  • Adamou, E. and Arvaniti, A. (2014). Greek Thrace Xoraxane Romane. Journal of the International Phonetic Association [Online] 44:223-231. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0025100313000376.
    Romani is an Indo-Aryan language spoken in several European countries as well as in the Americas, Asia and Australia, showing substantial dialectal variation. This illustration deals with Xoraxane Romane (Turkish Romani) spoken in Greek Thrace. Xoraxane Romane, which belongs to the Vlax branch of Romani, has been heavily influenced by contact with Turkish and also shows influences from Greek. As a result, Xoraxane Romane exhibits a mixed system that includes phonemes borrowed from both Turkish and Greek but without exhibiting complex phonological phenomena such as Turkish vowel harmony.
  • Tilsen, S. and Arvaniti, A. (2013). Speech Rhythm Analysis with Decomposition of the Amplitude Envelope: Characterizing Rhythmic Patterns within and across Languages. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America [Online] 134:628-639. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4807565.
  • Horton, R. and Arvaniti, A. (2013). Clusters and Classes in the Rhythm Metrics. San Diego Linguistics Papers [Online] 4:28-52. Available at: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/0tt1j553.
  • Arvaniti, A. and Rodriquez, T. (2013). The Role of Rhythm Class, Speaking Rate, and F0 in Language Discrimination. Laboratory Phonology [Online] 4:7-38. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/lp-2013-0002.
    The division of languages into stress-, syllable-, and mora-timing is said to be supported by experiments showing that languages are discriminated only if they belong to different rhythm classes, a distinction said to be reflected in the duration and variability of consonantal and vocalic intervals (timing). The role of rhythm classes in discrimination is tested here along with the alternative that discrimination is due to speaking rate and F0 differences and is independent of rhythm class. Five AAX experiments with English as context (AA) and Polish, Danish, Spanish, Greek, or Korean as test (X) were conducted using the sasasa transform and modifying F0 and speaking rate, so as to compare responses to stimuli that retained the original speaking rate and F0 of each language and stimuli that were stripped of this information (speaking rate, F0, or both) while retaining their timing. Discrimination was possible both across and within rhythm classes when speaking rates differed between context and test but was largely impossible once speaking rate differences were eliminated. F0 also played a significant if less consistent role in discrimination. The changes in responses associated with speaking rate and F0 indicate that language discrimination arises from interactions between prosodic factors and that timing contributes but little. Consequently the results cast doubt both on the ecological validity of the sasasa transform, which brings timing to the fore while eliminating F0 modulation, and on the rhythm class typology said to be reflected in timing distinctions.
  • Arvaniti, A. (2012). The Usefulness of Metrics in the Quantification of Speech Rhythm. Journal of Phonetics [Online] 40:351-373. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wocn.2012.02.003.
  • Arvaniti, A. (2010). Can Stress-timing and Syllable-timing be Perceived? The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America [Online] 128:2478-2478. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3508888.
  • Arvaniti, A. (2010). Linguistic Practices in Cyprus and the Emergence of Cypriot Standard Greek. Mediterranean Language Review [Online] 17:15-45. Available at: http://www.mlr.uni-hd.de/mlr17_en.html.
  • Arvaniti, A. (2009). Rhythm, Timing and the Timing of Rhythm. Phonetica [Online] 66:46-63. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000208930.
    This article reviews the evidence for rhythmic categorization that has emerged on the basis of rhythm metrics, and argues that the metrics are unreliable predictors of rhythm which provide no more than a crude measure of timing. It is further argued that timing is distinct from rhythm and that equating them has led to circularity and a psychologically questionable conceptualization of rhythm in speech. It is thus proposed that research on rhythm be based on the same principles for all languages, something that does not apply to the widely accepted division of languages into stress- and syllable-timed. The hypothesis is advanced that these universal principles are grouping and prominence and evidence to support it is provided.
  • Arvaniti, A. and Ladd, D. (2009). Greek wh-Questions and the Phonology of Intonation. Phonology [Online] 26:43-74. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0952675709001717.
    The intonation of Greek wh-questions consists of a rise-fall followed by a low plateau and a final rise. Using acoustic data, we show (i) that the exact contour shape depends on the length of the question, and (ii) that the position of the first peak and the low plateau depends on the position of the stressed syllables, and shows predictable adjustments in alignment, depending on the proximity of adjacent tonal targets. Models that specify the F0 of all syllables, or models that specify F0 by superposing contour shapes for shorter and longer domains, cannot account for such fine-grained lawful variation except by using ad hoc tonal specifications, which, in turn, do not allow for phonological generalisations about contours applying to utterances of greatly different lengths. In contrast, our findings follow easily from an autosegmental-metrical approach to intonational phonology, according to which melodies may contain long F0 stretches derived by interpolation between specified targets associated with metrically strong syllables and prosodic boundaries.
  • Ferjan, N., Ross, T. and Arvaniti, A. (2008). Second Language Rhythm and Rhythm Metrics. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America [Online] 123:3427. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.2934191.
    Several metrics that reflect the variability of vocalic and consonantal intervals in speech have been shown to successfully discriminate between the rhythm of first and second language (L2) speakers producing short sentences of a given language. Here we elicited running read speech from native speakers of English, German and Italian speaking English. We hypothesized that the scores of German L2 speakers would be closer to the scores of native English speakers, since both English and German are stress-timed, and that the scores of Italian L2 speakers would exhibit greater differences from native English scores, since Italian is stress-timed. Our results show instead that the scores of some German speakers are less close to those of the native English speakers than the scores of some Italian speakers, a difference that cannot be attributed to fluency, proficiency level, or length of exposure to English. It is possible that these results reflect over-compensation of some sort by some L2 speakers, though a more likely explanation is that the popular metrics used to quantify speech rhythm may be unreliable or at least not sufficiently robust to be used with L2 data. Reasons why this may be so for L2 speech in particular are discussed.
  • Ross, T., Ferjan, N. and Arvaniti, A. (2008). Quantifying Rhythm in Running Speech. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America [Online] 123:3427. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.2934189.
    In the past decade several metrics that reflect the variability of vocalic and consonantal intervals in speech have been used to quantify the impressionistic division of languages into stress- and syllable-timed. Although all such metrics successfully separate prototypical languages, such as stress-timed English and syllable-timed Spanish, their results for other languages are less clear. The problem is related to the limited datasets used, which consist of either a small number of sentences per language elicited from several speakers, or longer stretches of speech elicited from one speaker per language. Here we elicited short sentences, story reading and spontaneous speech from several speakers of stress-timed English, syllable-timed Spanish, Korean, a hitherto unclassified language, and Greek, which has shown to resist classification. Our results show that different metrics yield different classifications for some languages, like Greek, while scores for the same language differ depending on speaking style. Taken all together these results cast doubt on the robustness and usefulness of the popular metrics and suggest that alternative ways of conceiving of speech rhythm that do not rely exclusively on timing but take relative prominence into account may ultimately be more successful in explaining speech rhythm.
  • Arvaniti, A., Ross, T. and Ferjan, N. (2008). On the Reliability of Rhythm Metrics. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America [Online] 124:2495. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4782810.
    In the past decade or so, various metrics of vocalic and consonantal variability have been used to quantify linguistic rhythm, often yielding disparate results. The reliability of several such metrics (percentage of vocalic intervals and consonantal standard deviation, pairwise variability indices, and variation coefficient) was tested using materials from stress-timed English and German, syllable-timed Spanish and Italian, Korean, an unclassified language, and Greek, which has resisted classification. The materials for each language were divided into three subsets: an uncontrolled subset of sentences excerpted from a representative author of each language, a subset exhibiting as much as possible “stress-timing” properties (complex syllable structure and extensive vocalic variability), and a subset exhibiting as much as possible “syllable-timing” properties (simple syllable structure and limited vocalic variability). The results suggest that rhythmic scores can be severely affected by the choice of materials, especially in languages such as Italian, in which it is easy to avoid or accentuate variability (e.g., by excluding or including geminates). Variation coefficient scores were the most resistant to the manipulation of materials but failed to show statistical differences across most of the languages examined. The overall results cast doubt on the reliability of metric scores as indicators of timing and linguistic rhythm.
  • Arvaniti, A. (2007). Greek Phonetics: The State of the Art. Journal of Greek Linguistics [Online] 8:97-208. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/jgl.8.08arv.
  • Garding, G. and Arvaniti, A. (2007). Dialectal Variation in the Rising Accents of American English. Papers in Laboratory Phonology IX: Change in Phonology IX:547-576.
  • Arvaniti, A. (2006). Erasure as a Means of Maintaining Diglossia in Cyprus. San Diego Linguistics Papers [Online] 2:25-38. Available at: https://escholarship.org/uc/item/4q90b3fm#.
    The Greek speech community of Cyprus is characterized by classic diglossia, with the local varieties forming the L, and Standard Greek the H. It is argued here that this diglossic situation is maintained against what the sociopolitical and economic conditions would predict, because the prevailing linguistic ideology—according to which Cypriots are ethnically Greek, an ethnic identity that is primarily defined by the use of (an almost uniform) Greek language—has led to the erasure of diglossia. The case of Cyprus shows that linguistic ideology and the role of language in indexing ethnicity may be crucial for the maintenance of diglossia in some linguistic communities and may prove more powerful than socio-economic conditions in sustaining the linguistic status quo.
  • Arvaniti, A., Shosted, R. and Kilpatrick, C. (2006). On the Perception of Epenthetic Stops in American English. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America [Online] 120:3249. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4788297.
  • Arvaniti, A., Ladd, D. and Mennen, I. (2006). Phonetic Effects of Focus and “Tonal Crowding” in Intonation: Evidence from Greek Polar Questions. Speech Communication [Online] 48:667-696. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.specom.2005.09.012.
    This paper deals with the intonation of polar (yes/no) questions in Greek. An experiment was devised which systematically manipulated the position of the focused word in the question (and therefore of the intonation nucleus) and the position of the last stressed syllable. Our results showed that all questions had a low level stretch associated with the focused word and a final rise–fall movement, the peak of which aligned in two different ways depending on the position of the nucleus: when the nucleus was on the final word, the peak of the rise fall co-occurred with the utterance-final vowel, irrespective of whether this vowel was stressed or not; when the nucleus was on an earlier word, the peak co-occurred with the stressed vowel of the last word. In addition, our results showed finely-tuned adjustments of tonal alignment and scaling that depended on the extent to which tones were “crowded” by surrounding tones in the various conditions we set up. These results can best be explained within a model of intonational phonology in which a tune consists of a string of sparse tones and their association to specific elements of the segmental string.
  • Arvaniti, A., Ladd, D. and Mennen, I. (2006). Tonal Association and Tonal Alignment: Evidence from Greek Polar Questions and Contrastive Statements. Language and Speech [Online] 49:421-450. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/00238309060490040101.
    This paper compares the production and perception of the rise-fall contour of contrastive statements and the final rise-fall part of polar questions in Greek. The results show that these superficially similar rise-falls exhibit fine phonetic differences in the alignment of tonal targets with the segmental string, and that these differences can be used by native speakers under experimental conditions to identify the two contour types. It is further shown here that the observed differences in alignment are best attributed to differences in the overall tonal composition of these contours, which results in different degrees of crowding for the targets involved. This analysis accounts for the differences in phonetic detail between the two contours, while obviating the need to posit distinct secondary associations for the peak of the rise-fall. It is suggested that differences in phonetic alignment should be formalized by means of the secondary association mechanism only if simpler analyses and explanations have been considered and shown not to account effectively for the data. Finally, the perceptual results suggest that even small alignment differences like those observed here have a role in perception and should therefore be specified in a full description of the phonetic implementation of tunes.
  • Arvaniti, A. (2006). Linguistic Practices in Cyprus and the Emergence of Cypriot Standard Greek. San Diego Linguistics Papers 2:1-24.
    In Cyprus today systematic changes affecting all levels of linguistic analysis are observed in the use of Standard Greek, giving rise to a distinct linguistic variety which can be called Cypriot Standard Greek. The changes can be attributed to the influence of English and Cypriot Greek (the local linguistic variety), and to the increasing use of the Standard in semi-formal occasions. Equally important is the reluctance to recognize the diglossic situation on the island (in which Standard Greek is the H variety and Cypriot Greek the L), for political and ideological reasons. This in turn means that the attention of the Cypriot speakers is not drawn to the differences between Standard Greek as spoken in Greece and their usage of it; thus the differences become gradually consolidated, while the users remain unaware of them.
  • Shosted, R., del Giudice, A. and Arvaniti, A. (2006). Comparing Methods for Measuring Pitch "Elbows". The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America [Online] 120:3091. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4787489.

Book section

  • Arvaniti, A. (2012). Rhythm Classes and Speech Perception. in: Niebuhr, O. ed. Understanding Prosody: The Role of Context, Function and Communication. Walter de Gruyter, pp. 75-92. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/9783110301465.75.
  • Arvaniti, A. and Adamou, E. (2011). Focus Expression in Romani. in: Washburn, M. B. et al. eds. 28th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics. Somerville, MA, USA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project, pp. 240-248. Available at: http://www.lingref.com/cpp/wccfl/28/index.html.
    This paper presents a first sketch of the intonation and rich focus marking devices of Komotini Romani on the basis of an autosegmental-metrical analysis of spontaneous data prosody. Contrary to the "minimality condition" that has been argued to prevail in the choice of focus strategies, Komotini Romani often uses several focus marking devices concurrently. Moreover, Komotini Romani adds stress-shift to the list of focus marking strategies available cross-linguistically.
  • Arvaniti, A. (2011). Segment-to-Tone Association (Chapter 11.2). in: Cohn, A., Fougeron, C. and Huffman, M. eds. The Oxford Handbook of Laboratory Phonology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 265-274.
  • Arvaniti, A. (2011). The Representation of Intonation. in: van Oostendorp, M. et al. eds. The Blackwell Companion to Phonology. Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 757-780. Available at: http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-140518423X.html.
  • Arvaniti, A. (2010). A (Brief) Overview of the Phonetics and Phonology of Cypriot Greek. in: Voskos, A., Goutsos, D. and Mozer, A. eds. The Greek Language in Cyprus from Antiquity to Today. Athens: University of Athens, pp. 107-124.
  • Arvaniti, A. (2009). On the Presence of Final Lowering in British and American English. in: Gussenhoven, C. and Riad, T. eds. Tones and Tunes, Vol. 2: Experimental Studies in Word and Sentence Prosody. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 317-347.
  • Arvaniti, A. and Baltazani, M. (2005). Intonational Analysis and Prosodic Annotation of Greek Spoken Corpora. in: Sun-Ah, J. ed. Prosodic Typology: The Phonology of Intonation and Phrasing. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 84-117. Available at: http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199208746.do.
    This chapter provides an analysis of the prosodic and intonational structure of Greek within the autosegmental/metrical framework of intonational phonology, and presents Greek ToBI (GRToBI), a system for the annotation of Greek spoken corpora based on this analysis. Both the analysis and the annotation system have largely been developed on the basis of a corpus of spoken Greek. The analysis posits five pitch accents (H*, L*, H*+L, L*+H, L+H*), and two levels of phrasing, the intermediate phrase (ip) and the intonational phrase (IP), which are tonally demarcated by three types of phrase accent (H-, L-, !H-) and three types of boundary tone (H%, L%, !H %) respectively. Unlike the original ToBI, GRToBI has five tiers: the Tone Tier, the Words Tier, the Break Index Tier, the Miscellaneous Tier, and the Prosodic Words Tier (a phonetic transcription of prosodic words).

Conference or workshop item

  • Gryllia, S., Baltazani, M. and Arvaniti, A. (2018). The role of pragmatics and politeness in explaining prosodic variability. in: Speech Prosody 2018.. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-32.
    Twenty speakers (10F, 10M) took part in a discourse completion task (DCT) to examine effects of politeness and context on tunes used with wh-questions in Greek: they heard and saw on screen short scenarios ending in a wh-question. DCTs were controlled for power, solidarity, and context (with scenarios leading to the wh-questions being used either to request information or to indirectly make a statement). The results confirmed the role of context: the two context types led to the elicitation of distinct tunes, L*+H L- !H% for information-seeking questions, and L+H* L-L% for indirect statements, with lower scaling and later alignment of the accentual H in the former, and differences in final F0 consistent with a !H% and L% boundary tone respectively. In addition, questions after information contexts were shorter, but with a significantly longer final vowel. Politeness also affected duration, with conditions requiring a greater degree of politeness (the addressee being non-solidary and of different social status than the speaker) leading to lower speaking rate. The results indicate that tunes are associated with different durational profiles, which are also influenced by politeness. These results support recent studies showing that the study of intonation must include parameters beyond F0.
  • Prom-on, S. et al. (2016). The Common Prosody Platform (CPP) — where Theories of Prosody can be directly Compared. in: Speech Prosody 8 2016: Prosody and the Individual: Unity and Difference Within and Across Speech Communities. Urbana, USA: Speech Prosody Special Interest Group (SProSIG). Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2016.
    This paper introduces the Common Prosody Platform (CPP), a computational platform that implements major theories and models of prosody. CPP aims at a) adapting theory-specific assumptions into computational algorithms that can generate surface prosodic forms, and b) making all the models trainable through global optimization based on automatic analysis-bysynthesis learning. CPP allows examination of prosody in much finer detail than has been previously done and provides a means for speech scientists to directly compare theories and their models. So far, four theories have been included in the platform, the Command-Response model, the AutosegmentalMetrical theory, the Task Dynamic model, and the Parallel Encoding and Target Approximation model. Preliminary tests show that all the implemented models can achieve good local contour fitting with low errors and high correlations.
  • Hae-Sung, J. and Arvaniti, A. (2016). Rhythmic grouping in English, Greek and Korean: testing the iambic-trochaic law. in: Speech Prosody 8 2016: Prosody and the Individual: Unity and Difference Within and Across Speech Communities. Urbana, USA: Speech Prosody Special Interest Group (SProSIG). Available at: https://doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2016.
    The iambic-trochaic law (ITL) states that repeating sounds with an intensity contrast are perceived as binary groups with initial prominence (trochees) and those with a durational contrast with final prominence (iambs). Although the ITL has been empirically supported, it is not clear whether it is due to universal cognitive mechanisms or whether language-specific prosodic properties affect listeners’ grouping preferences. We tested the law with speakers of English, Greek and Korean who heard strings of tones varied in duration and/or intensity. The results revealed neither significant differences among languages nor a strong bias shared by speakers of all languages. Significantly, listeners’ grouping preferences were influenced by the duration of the inter-tone interval (ITI), with long ITI (200 ms) resulting in stronger trochaic preferences than short ITI (20 ms), indicating that specific experimental conditions may be responsible for cross-linguistic differences in listener responses across experiments testing the ITL.
  • Arvaniti, A. and Rathcke, T. (2015). The role of stress in syllable monitoring. in: 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. London: International Phonetic Association. Available at: http://www.icphs2015.info/pdfs/Papers/ICPHS0635.pdf.
    In a syllable monitoring experiment, Greek and English speakers (N = 20 per language) monitored for [ma] embedded in Greek real and nonce words; [ma] was word-initial, word-medial or word-final, and stressed, unstressed or rhythmically stressed. Both groups spotted stressed [ma] faster than unstressed [ma]; unstressed [ma] was spotted faster by Greek than English participants. Rhythmically stressed [ma] patterned with unstressed [ma] for both groups. Word category (real or nonce) did not affect latencies. These results show that stress played an important role whether participants were responding to unfamiliar (nonce) stimuli (Greeks) or processing in an altogether unfamiliar language with different stress requirements (English). The importance of stress did not depend on rhythm class, as has sometimes been argued, though familiarity with language did affect responses. The results do not support the view that processing is related to rhythm class and confirm that Greek makes only a binary stress distinction.
  • Arvaniti, A., Baltazani, M. and Gryllia, S. (2014). The Pragmatic Interpretation of Intonation in Greek Wh-questions. in: Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Speech Prosody. pp. 1144-1148.
    We experimentally investigated the pragmatics of two melodies commonly used with Greek wh-questions,
    L*H L-!H%, described as the default, and LH* L-L% considered less frequent and polite. We tested two
    hypotheses: (a) the !H%-ending melody is associated with information-seeking questions, while the L%-
    ending melody is pragmatically more flexible and thus appropriate also for non-information-seeking wh-questions expressing bias; (b) the !H%-ending melody, being more polite, is more appropriate for female talkers, all else being equal. In Experiment 1, comprehenders rated !H-ending and L%-ending versions of the same questions for politeness and appropriateness for the context in which they were heard (which favored either information-seeking or “biased” wh-questions). In Experiment 2, comprehenders heard the same questions and chose between two follow-up responses, one providing information, the other addressing the bias of the wh-question. Comprehenders rated !H%-ending questions more appropriate than L%-ending questions and judged the !H%-ending questions of female talkers more polite. They also chose information-providing answers more frequently after !H%- than L%-ending questions, but the preference was higher for female talkers and depended on comprehender gender. The results argue in favor of a compositional view of intonational meaning which depends not only on the tune but also on context, broadly construed.
  • Ritchart, A. and Arvaniti, A. (2014). The Use of High Rise Terminals in Southern Californian English. in: Proceedings of 166th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. Acoustical Society of America, through the American Institute of Physics, p. . Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4863274.
  • Ritchart, A. and Arvaniti, A. (2014). The Form and Use of Uptalk in Southern California English. in: Speech Prosody 7. pp. 331-335. Available at: http://www.speechprosody2014.org/.
    This study examines the phonetics, phonology and pragmatic function of uptalk, utterance-?nal rising
    pitch movements, as used in Southern Californian English. Twelve female and eleven male speakers were
    recorded in a variety of tasks. Instances of uptalk were coded for discourse function (statement, question,
    con?rmation request, ?oor holding) based on context. The excursion of the pitch rise and the distance
    of the rise start from the onset of the utterance’s last stressed vowel were also measured. Con?rmation
    requests and ?oor holding showed variable realization. Questions, on the other hand, showed a rise
    that typically started within the stressed vowel and had a large pitch excursion, while uptalk used with
    statements exhibited both a smaller pitch excursion and a later rise that often started after vowel o?set.
    This pattern suggests that statements have a L* L-H% melody while questions have L* H-H%. Gender
    di?erences were also found: female speakers used uptalk more often than males, and showed greater pitch
    excursion and later alignment, all else being equal. Other social parameters, however, such as social class
    and linguistic background did not a?ect the use of uptalk.
  • Piccinini, P. and Arvaniti, A. (2014). Accessing Cross Language Categories in Learning a Third Language. in: Orman, W. and Valleau, M. J. eds. 38th annual Boston University Conference on Language Development. Cascadilla Press, pp. 342-354. Available at: http://www.cascadilla.com/bucld38toc.html.
  • Chung, Y. and Arvaniti, A. (2013). Speech Rhythm in Korean: Experiments in Speech Cycling. in: ICA 2013 Montreal. pp. 060216-060216. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4801062.
  • Grijalva, C., Piccinini, P. and Arvaniti, A. (2013). The Vowel Spaces of Southern Californian English and Mexican Spanish as Produced by Monolinguals and Bilinguals. in: ICA 2013 Montreal. Acoustical Society of America, through the American Institute of Physics, pp. 060088-060088. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4800752.
  • Arvaniti, A. and Ross, T. (2010). Rhythm Classes and Speech Perception. in: Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2010. Speech Prosody, pp. 100887:1-4. Available at: http://speechprosody2010.illinois.edu/papers/100887.pdf.
    This study indirectly tests whether American, Greek and Korean listeners can classify low-pass filtered utterances of English, German, Greek, Italian, Korean and Spanish into rhythm classes, by examining how they rate each utterance’s rhythm in comparison to a series of non-speech trochees. Such classification was difficult for all groups of listeners and did not support the rhythmic classification of the languages of the stimuli, casting doubt on the impressionistic basis of the
    rhythm class hypothesis.
  • Adamou, E. and Arvaniti, A. (2010). Language-Specific and Universal Patterns in Narrow Focus Marking in Romani. in: Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2010. Speech Prosody, pp. 100086:1-4. Available at: http://speechprosody2010.illinois.edu/papers/100086.pdf.
    This paper presents a first sketch of the intonation and rich focus marking devices of Komotini Romani on the basis of an autosegmental-metrical analysis of spontaneous data prosody. Contrary to the “minimality condition” that has been argued to prevail in the choice of focus strategies, Komotini Romani often uses several focus marking devices concurrently. Moreover, Komotini Romani adds stress-shift to the list of focus marking strategies available cross-linguistically.
  • Kilpatrick, C., Shosted, R. and Arvaniti, A. (2007). On the Perception of Incomplete Neutralization. in: 16th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Universität des Saarlandes, pp. 653-656. Available at: http://www.icphs2007.de/.
    The perception of American English epenthetic and underlying stops (as in prin[t]ce ~ prints) was examined in a forced-choice identification experiment that controlled for word frequency and
    familiarity, closure duration and presence of burst. The results showed that listeners are largely unable to distinguish minimal pairs on the basis of differences in closure duration and the presence or absence of burst; word frequency and familiarity had little effect on the results. Generally, listeners had more difficulty with stimuli with strong [t]s (long closure, burst) than with stimuli with weak [t]s, which they tended to categorize as “nce” words. Overall the results suggest that [ns]~[nts] is close to complete neutralization in favor of [nts].
  • del Giudice, A. et al. (2007). Comparing Methods for Locating Pitch "Elbows". in: 16th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Universität des Saarlandes, pp. 1117-1120. Available at: http://www.icphs2007.de/.
    The labeling of “elbows” in an F0 contour is considered an enterprise beset with difficulty due
    to the inability of humans to locate pitch elbows with accuracy, consistency and in a manner devoid
    of theoretical bias. This paper investigates the extent to which human labelers agree with one
    another in locating elbows and how four algorithms compare to their results. Humans are
    found to be more consistent than has been suggested and a least-squares fitting algorithm best
    approaches their intuition. The success of algorithmic elbow location depends on the selection of the contour stretch in which the elbow is to be located. This elbow location is most consistent if performed by a theoretically-informed annotator, suggesting that an atheoretical annotation of F0 contours may be impossible to achieve, and ultimately undesirable.
  • Arvaniti, A. (2007). On the Relationship between Phonology and Phonetics (or Why Phonetics is not Phonology): Special Session: Between Meaning and Speech: On the Role of Communicative Functions, Representations and Articulations. in: 16th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Universität des Saarlandes, pp. 19-24. Available at: http://www.icphs2007.de/.
    In this presentation, I argue that unifying phonetics and phonology in the grammar has undesirable
    consequences. Evidence for this position is provided from various sources, but focuses on
    intonation, an area of linguistic structure that has often been viewed as not requiring an abstract
    phonological representation.


  • Arvaniti, A. (2017). The Autosegmental-Metrical model of intonational phonology. in: Shattuck-Hufnagel, S. and Barnes, J. eds. Prosodic Theory and Practice. MIT Press.
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