15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Duration and Tonal Characteristics of Short Expressions in Italian

Loredana Cerrato (1), Mariapaola D'Imperio (2)

(1) KTH, Sweden
(2) LPL-CNRS, France

The results of a preliminary analysis of short expressions, such as "mh" "mm" and "ah" produced in human-human interactions in Italian are reported in this paper. The aim of this study was to test the relationship between prosodic variation and discourse function. We hypothesized that tonal and duration cues can be useful in the identification of different communicative functions of short expressions. The hypothesis was supported by our data. As for the tonal analysis, which was primarily phonological, it appears that specific tonal configurations are systematically employed in relation to specific short expression's communicative functions. As for the durational analysis the results suggest that duration can be used in order to render different communicative functions explicit and to distinguish among different functions carried out by the same lexical item.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Cerrato, Loredana / D'Imperio, Mariapaola (2003): "Duration and tonal characteristics of short expressions in Italian", In ICPhS-15, 1213-1216.