Speech Prosody 2014

Speech prosody and listener choice

Anne Cutler
Aspects of the suprasegmental structure of speech are famously subject to speaker choice. There is no obligatory location for accent in a sentence such as“She didn’t run home”; speakers may say“SHE didn’t run home”or“She DIDN’T run home”or“She didn’t RUN home”or“She didn’t run HOME”, with different resulting inferences in each case. But do listeners also have any degree of choice in the auditory processing of this dimension of speech? This presentation will argue that they do, and support the argument with evidence from laboratory studies of spoken-word recognition, of semantic structure computation in spoken sentences, and of the processing of delexicalised prosodic signals.