Impolite prosody in Swedish and the importance of context (Åsa Abelin)
Impolite prosody in Swedish and the importance of context
This article discusses whether there can be such a thing as context-independent impolite prosody, and presents a possible method for studying prosody and impoliteness in natural speech. The corpus of written Swedish, KORP, was excerpted for the words ‘oartig’ (‘impolite’) and ‘oartighet’ (‘impoliteness’), and these excerpts were analysed to determine which communicative actions are generally associated with impoliteness among Swedish speakers. According to the corpus, one of the more impolite communicative actions is interrupting someone and preventing them from finishing their sentence. Incidents of explicit verbal expression of interruptions, which could be considered impolite expressions, were extracted from the Swedish television talk show Debatt, and the contexts of these interruptions were analysed auditorily to find prosodic cues to perceived impoliteness. It is suggested that a method for studying impolite prosody could consist of excerption of crucial passages in the debates for acoustic analysis of prosodic traits. Corpus studies should be used to identify the crucial passages.
Keywords: prosody, Swedish, television debates
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