Prosodic boundaries in subordinate syntactic constructions

Author(s): Manon Lelandais and Gaëlle Ferré

Abstract

Based on a video recording of conversational British English, this paper tests whether several different subordinate syntactic structures are evenly vocally integrated to their environment. "Secondary constructions" have been described in linguistics as dependent, subordinate forms elaborating on primary elements of discourse. Although their verbal and vocal characteristics have been deeply analysed, few studies have provided a qualified picture of their vocal integration. Beyond showing that secondary constructions are not evenly dependent on their environment, the results suggest that prosody segments secondary constructions more than it integrates them. The creation of a break preferentially takes place retrospectively, immediately after the subordinate structure through rhythmic features and/or pitch upsteps.

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