Situational Variation in Intonational Strategies

Malcah Yaeger-Dror, Lauren Hall-Lew, Sharon Deckert

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Abstract / Description of output

This paper will use data from two large corpora of spoken American English to analyze variation in prosodic strategies. In this paper the relative importance of cognitive and interactive determinants of intonational choices will be reconsidered, as well as the importance of register (Biber 1995) and stance and footing (Goffman 1981) to the choice of prominent or reduced not, especially when the speaker is doing a repair (Sacks 1992). The paper shows not only that a quantitative study of prosodic variables is possible, but that register and
stance and footing influence a speaker’s prosodic choices. The study finds that if we consider Biber’s Dimension 1 (the variation from informative to interactive situations), all things being equal, negatives, which carry important information, will be prosodically prominent more consistently in informative situations. However, the paper will also show that stance and footing must be distinguished from each other: when speakers are in an interactive situation which requires a non-supportive/adversarial stance, the repair negatives -- and even the purely informative but not face threatening negatives -- will be prosodically prominent more consistently than they are when the interactive stance is not adversarial, and the repair tokens will be more consistently prominent than (even) informative tokens. In addition, the distinction between purely informative, interactively supportive, and remedial footing must also be taken into consideration. This paper provides evidence that while linguistic choices are theoretically shaped by the cognitive needs of the hearer, in interactive situations social concerns predominate over such cognitive ‘needs’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCorpus Analysis
Subtitle of host publicationLanguage Structure & Language Use
EditorsP. Leistyna, C. Meyer
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
Number of pages224
ISBN (Print)90-420-1036-3
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Sociolinguistics
  • variation
  • negation
  • Corpora


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