English Language & Linguistics

Amalia Arvaniti research award for intonation study

23 August 2016

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Amalia Arvaniti, Professor of Linguistics in the Department of English Language & Linguistics, has just won a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant, in collaboration with Dr Mary Baltazani (University of Oxford) and Dr Stella Gryllia (Leiden University) for a project entitled 'Components of Intonation and the Structure of Intonational Meaning'.

The longstanding debate on whether intonation (the modulation of voice pitch) contributes to spoken meaning holistically (i.e., as a tune) or independently remains unanswered. This is possibly because research has focused on pitch alone, while recent studies indicate that other aspects of the speech signal (e.g. loudness) co-vary with pitch and may contribute to meaning. The research aims to address these issues using Greek wh-questions as a test case.

The researchers will conduct a production study to examine changes associated with the tunes used with Greek wh-questions, and then test tune interpretation, focusing on whether (a) intonational meaning is compositional, and (b) prosodic parameters other than pitch (e.g. speaking rate) affect tune meaning. The results will contribute to theories of intonational meaning and structure, and will inform the study of Greek prosody. They will also serve as proof of concept for a larger-scale cross-linguistic project examining the contribution of both pitch and additional parameters to utterance meaning in context.

For more details about BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants, please see the page here: www.britac.ac.uk/ba-leverhulme-small-research-grants


English Language & Linguistics, School of European Culture and Languages, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NF

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Last Updated: 23/01/2014