LINGUIST List 7.191

Tue Feb 6 1996

Disc: Emphasis

Editor for this issue: Ann Dizdar <dizdartam2000.tamu.edu>


Directory

  1. Markccgate.dragonsys.com, Emphasis
  2. "DAVID WHARTON", Re: Emphasis
  3. "James Jenkins (PSY)", Re: 7.184, Disc: Emphasis
  4. halaszkewszeg.norden1.com (), Re: 7.184, Disc: Emphasis
  5. KReinhardtUH.EDU, Re: 7.184, Disc: Emphasis

Message 1: Emphasis

Date: Tue, 06 Feb 1996 10:01:54 EST
From: Markccgate.dragonsys.com <Markccgate.dragonsys.com>
Subject: Emphasis

Yet another example... Radio announcer: "'The World' [a program] WILL
be on at four." (There had been no mention of delays, substitutions,
or any other variation in the normal schedule.)

With this discussion fresh in my mind, I phoned the studio during the
next musical selection, explained the question and the issue (possibly
a tactical mistake*), and asked the announcer why he had said it that
way. He said something like, "I didn't notice [I was saying anything
unusual]. *I guess we don't all have perfect grammar."

Score for this inning: Facts 1, Analysis 0.

 Mark A. Mandel
 Dragon Systems, Inc. : speech recognition : +1 617 965-5200
 320 Nevada St. : Newton, Mass. 02160, USA : markdragonsys.com
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Message 2: Re: Emphasis

Date: Tue, 06 Feb 1996 10:22:06 EST
From: "DAVID WHARTON" <whartondFAGAN.UNCG.EDU>
Subject: Re: Emphasis
One observation about stress on auxiliaries: it often implies focus on
the truth value of the entire utterance, as opposed to any particular
constituent of the utterance. Off the cuff, I'd guess that this kind
of focus is usually contrastive, when the speaker wishes to assert the
truth of his/her utterance in opposition to the stated or presupposed
notions of the interlocutors. This would explain at least some of the
examples offered, e.g. the flight attendant who says,

"Items DO tend to move about in the overhead compartments (as opposed
to your presupposition that they don't, which I have observed in the
way that you idiotic passengers are always whipping them open so that
your luggage falls out and smashes down on the head of the person
sitting in the aisle seat)."

Perhaps also it explains Jim Lehrer's, "Now we DO move on to our
interview segment (I'll bet you thought we'd never finish that last
incredibly boring story)."

I offer the second example with tongue in cheek, of course, but the
boredom of the utterer does seem to run through all the examples given
on the list. It's possible that in often repeated utterances, the
speaker is hardly aware that he/she is making a communication, and is
therefore assigning prosodic stress in a more or less random way, or
according to the dictates of a prosodic stress generator that has been
disconnected from informational structure (much in the way that
pre-verbal children generate prosodic stress patterns even before they
can produce any lexical items to stress).


*********************************************
David Wharton 
Department of Classical Studies 
237 McIver Building
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, NC 27412-5001
email: whartonduncg.edu tel. (910)334-5214
*********************************************
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Message 3: Re: 7.184, Disc: Emphasis

Date: Tue, 06 Feb 1996 16:47:49 EST
From: "James Jenkins (PSY)" <jenkinsluna.cas.usf.edu>
Subject: Re: 7.184, Disc: Emphasis
Strongly agree with Hartman and Shaw. Not only sounds reasonable but
if we can believe the historians we have all done the same with
Lincoln's words. What makes sense is "of the PEOPLE, by the PEOPLE and
for the PEOPLE" But what almost all of us say when we repeat those
words is ,"OF the people, BY the people, and FOR the people" Right?

James J. Jenkins
Psychology Department
University of South Florida
Tampa, FL 33620-8200
(813) 974-0486
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Message 4: Re: 7.184, Disc: Emphasis

Date: Tue, 06 Feb 1996 10:27:59 CST
From: halaszkewszeg.norden1.com () < ()">halaszkewszeg.norden1.com ()>
Subject: Re: 7.184, Disc: Emphasis
from lhartmansiu.edu (Lee Hartman):
	
> Likewise in the "reduced" language of routine airline
>announcements: for flight personnel, the seats, the aisle, the
>landing gate, etc. are so frequently repeated (thematic) that they
>become prosodically part of the background. *Of course* they're
>talking about your seat; what's interesting is whether they tell you
>to put your things *on* the seat or *under* the seat.

A problem here, as in all latter-dai public speaking, is that the
speakers never hear themselvs. Public speaking is not at all taught,
for the nation is literate, and the few that learn any are those who
work where it is more needed; teaching, for example. I suspect that
few airline-passengers are new, and learn hou to hearken to the bad
speech.
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Message 5: Re: 7.184, Disc: Emphasis

Date: Tue, 06 Feb 1996 11:20:16 CST
From: KReinhardtUH.EDU <KReinhardtUH.EDU>
Subject: Re: 7.184, Disc: Emphasis
On the topic of misplaced (to me) stress on non-contrastive
prepositions and auxiliaries: Yesterday I had jury duty. The clerk
frequently said things like "And ON the third part write...", "The
group WILL be taken..." Sounded just like an airplane announcement!
This also, by the way, happens in Spanish (not just flight- attendent
talk): "Y EN el capitulo dos, encontraran ..." However it is pitch
shift rather than misplaced stress. Could this be true in English
too? attendent talk): "Y EN el capitulo dos, encontraran ..."
However it is pitch shift rather than misplaced stress. Could this be
true in English too? AT least it seems to me that it is a tilted
pitch, rather than plain stress. Hmm. I'll be watching for
reactions. Karl Reinhardt
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