14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999

Prosodic Correlates of Certainty/Uncertainty in Utterances with Modal Words

Marion Krause

Ruhr University Bochum, Germany

This study was directed at the interaction of lexical and prosodic means affecting the perception of the speaker´s degree of certainty. Russian material was used to test groups of Russian native speakers as well as German test persons having no knowledge of Russian. Several experimental sessions were conducted varying the kind of stimuli presentation but not the stimuli themselves. The comparison of the results as well as the analysis of some F0 features showed some factors that seem to determine the listeners´ respones. As for native test persons, the essential information was conveyed by the lexical markers of epistemic modality. They seem to be quite stable against several intonational contours that occured in the stimuli. A significant correlation between listeners´ judgement of degree of certainty and the mean F0 characteristics was found. This correlation seems to affect native test persons as well as non-natives when lexical information is missed. Moreover, non-native listeners focus their attention to the final part of intonational contour.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Krause, Marion (1999): "Prosodic correlates of certainty/uncertainty in utterances with modal words", In ICPhS-14, 1313-1315.