Studies from German-speaking Europe
Edited By Adrian Leemann, Marie-José Kolly, Stephan Schmid and Volker Dellwo
Segmental effects on prosody: Modeling German argument structure
Research on prosody-segment interactions usually focuses on the effects of prosody on segment realization. In our study, we follow a different path by examining whether segmental cues affect the placement of prosodic boundaries. Though recent studies have shown that multiple factors contribute to the prosodic outcome of an utterance (e.g. Breen et al., 2011), the role of segmental information on boundary realization has not yet been addressed. The present corpus study thus examines whether segment clashes at word boundaries increase the probability of prosodic breaks and whether this proposed process contributes to a cognitive processing model predicting argument structure. In our first analysis, we examine whether consonant clashes affect speech production by analyzing the segmental environment of potential boundary positions in a radio news corpus. In our second analysis, we use these production results as a background for predicting the comprehension of argument structure. Our results show that segment clashes affect both of these modalities: The presence of consonant clashes significantly increases the number of prosodic boundaries in speech production. In comprehension modeling, segment clashes reduce the perceptual uncertainty when classifying two-argument structures, but increase it for one-argument structures.
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