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Nordic Prosody

Proceedings of the Xth Conference, Helsinki 2008

Edited By Martti Vainio, Reijo Aulanko and Olli Aaltonen

This volume contains the revised texts of talks and posters given at the Nordic Prosody X conference, held at the University of Helsinki, in August 2008. The contributions by Scandinavian and other researchers cover a wide range of prosody-related topics from various theoretical and methodological points of view. Although the history of the conference series is Nordic and Scandinavian, the current volume presents studies that are of mainly Baltic origin in the sense that of the eight languages presented in the proceedings only English is not natively spoken around the Baltic Sea. Research issues addressed in the 25 articles include various aspects of speech prosody, their regional variation within and across languages as well as social and idiolectal variation. Speech technology and modelling of prosody are also addressed in more than one article.


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13. Intonation units in Russian spontaneous speech spoken by Finnish Russian language learners 127


INTONATION UNITS IN RUSSIAN SPONTANEOUS SPEECH SPOKEN BY FINNISH RUSSIAN LANGUAGE LEARNERS Hanna Kärkkäinen 1 Introduction Prosodic phrasing has been one of the topics when intonation analysis has been discussed over the years. Even if the discussion has been extensive and numerous researches have been conducted on the topic concerning different languages, there are still gaps in prosodic theory and the principles of prosodic phrasing are not yet systematically and without problems suitable in the analysis of spontaneous speech (see e.g. Skrelin and Volskaya, 2004). Previous studies (e.g. Vol’skaya and Stepanova, 2005) have confirmed that the following parameters function as signals for intonation unit boundaries in spon- taneously produced native Russian speech: pauses, syntagmatic accent and reset- ting of fundamental frequency. However, the problems in defining intonation units have also been admitted amongst Russian researchers. First, it has been established that pauses can be seen as unit-internal hesitations or they can be situated between two units. Second, it has been found that only 50% of unit boundaries are marked by pauses, which leads to different interpretations of the boundary position. Third, the function of accent is problematic to define if the unit contains several accented words besides the syntagmatic one. Finally, hierarchy and gradation of tonal accents are not yet clear, even if already in the 1960s Zlatoustova (1962) attempted to determine the acoustic realisations of different types of accents. She stated that, for example, syntagmatic accent is realised mainly by means of changes in the fundamental frequency,...

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