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

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

The Dissociation of Deaccenting, Givenness, and Syntactic Role in Spontaneous Speech

E. G. Bard, Matthew P. Aylett

Department of Linguistics and HCRC, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

This study examines co-referential repetitions in task-oriented dialogue for characteristics conducive to the lowered clarity of words naming Given entities. Pairs of word tokens repeatedly mentioning the same entity within a single task-oriented dialogue (n=294) and pairs introducing an entity in separate dialogues (n=48) were compared. In both samples intelligibility and length fell significantly with repeated mention. Deaccented second mentions, thought to be largely responsible for this effect, were rare (15% within, 6% between dialogues) and did not account for effects of repetition. Repetitions within sentences of the same structure are thought to encourage deaccenting, but were not common (6%, 35%), and structural similarity did not encourage deaccenting. Similarity in the conversational role of carrier utterances was associated with higher rates of similar structure among re-introductions, but not with increased frequency of deaccenting. Thus, factors which should promote marking of Givenness are either lacking or ineffective.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Bard, E. G. / Aylett, Matthew P. (1999): "The dissociation of deaccenting, givenness, and syntactic role in spontaneous speech", In ICPhS-14, 1753-1756.