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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Accent Type and Givenness: An Experiment with Auditory and Visual Priming

Stefan Baumann, Kerstin Hadelich

Saarland University, Germany

In this paper we address the question of whether the intonational marking of discourse referents in German varies according to their degree of activation. We distinguish three activation states corresponding to given, accessible, and new information. In a perception experiment using synthesised sentences as auditory and drawings as visual primes, we investigated the effect of the mode of presentation on a referent's assumed activation state and the appropriateness of three different accent patterns for the marking of different activation states. Our results show differences in the priming effect on the activation state for the two modes of presentation: Auditorily primed referents seem to be activated to a higher degree than visually primed ones. Furthermore, it could be shown that the type of nuclear accent is a relevant cue for the perception of different degrees of givenness.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Baumann, Stefan / Hadelich, Kerstin (2003): "Accent type and givenness: an experiment with auditory and visual priming", In ICPhS-15, 1811-1814.