LINGUIST List 11.2243

Tue Oct 17 2000

Qs: Event Structure, Fundamental Frequency & Mood

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>

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  1. Andrea Schalley, Event Structure
  2. Jennifer Barrett, Fundamental frequency and speaker mood

Message 1: Event Structure

Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 10:58:15 +0200
From: Andrea Schalley <>
Subject: Event Structure

Dear linguists,

I am interested in a comparison of event structures. As an
example, I would like to consider English "to fetch" or
German "holen". I am especially wondering how
different languages express this concept - please let me

And I'd like to know whether native speakers would say that
the event structure of "to fetch" / "holen" etc. -
if the language uses only one word to express the
concept - consists of three subevents: 1) going to some
place, 2) taking something, and 3) coming (to the deictic
center). Would you say that these three subevents are on an
equal level or is one or are two of them prominent? Could
you even say that two of them form a subevent themselves (so
that "to fetch" consists of two subevents with one subevent
being composed of two subevents itself)?

I would appreciate it very much to also get information on:

(i) Verb serialising languages - do they depict the event
structure overtly as respective occurrences of verbs
describe the subevents? 

(ii) Are there languages that split one from the other two
subevents, e.g. via literally saying "go take-come" or
"go-take come"?

Thanks very much! I will be happy to post a sum if you are
intersted in one.

Andrea Schalley
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Message 2: Fundamental frequency and speaker mood

Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 12:44:28 -0400 (EDT)
From: Jennifer Barrett <>
Subject: Fundamental frequency and speaker mood


I am currently developing a task that is designed to capture differences
in speech characteristics related to mood. I would like to have subjects
read neutral sentences and then obtain a range of the fundamental
frequency for the sentences. In the past, it has been shown that people
who are depressed tend to have a smaller fundamental frequency range,
which has been attributed to less prosodic, 'flatter' speech. 

My question is- is necessary to use the same sentences (i.e obtain the
fundamental frequency range for 4
sentences and compare it with the fudamental frequency range for the same
4 sentences read at a different time)? 

In other words, would comparing the fundamental frequency between
different groups of sentences (i.e. obtaining the fundamental frequency of
4 sentences and comparing it with the fundamental frequency of 
4 different sentences) create a problem for interpreting what potential
differences in the observed fundamental frequency ranges really mean? 

Thank you for your time,

Jennifer Barrett
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