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Voice Quality

By John H. Esling, Scott R. Moisik, Allison Benner, Lise Crevier-Buchman

Voice Quality "The first description of voice quality production in forty years, this book provides a new framework for its study: The Laryngeal Articulator Model. Informed by instrumental examinations of the laryngeal articulatory mechanism, it revises our understanding of articulatory postures to explain the actions, vibrations and resonances generated in the epilarynx and pharynx."

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Let's Talk

By David Crystal

Let's Talk "Explores the factors that motivate so many different kinds of talk and reveals the rules we use unconsciously, even in the most routine exchanges of everyday conversation."

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Dissertation Information

Title: The interface between pragmatics and prosody in Spanish and Italian: requests in task-oriented dialogues Add Dissertation
Author: Iolanda Alfano Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Department of Spanish Philology
Completed in: 2015
Linguistic Subfield(s): Phonetics; Pragmatics;
Subject Language(s): Italian
Director(s): Joaquim Llisterri
Renata Savy

Abstract: This dissertation investigates some aspects of the interface between pragmatics and prosody and it aims to determine the role played by intonation in expressing communicative functions. For this purpose, among the different speech acts, this study explores some pragmatic and prosodic aspects of requests in task-oriented dialogues.

The corpus is composed of Neapolitan Italian dialogues and Spanish dialogues (in the variety spoken in Barcelona) and we examined it intra and interlinguistically, in order to contribute to theoretical and methodological developments of the field of teaching Italian and Spanish as foreign languages.

In both linguistic levels –pragmatic and prosodic–, results do reveal interesting differences between the two languages.

Pragmatic analysis indicates that the same kinds of requests occur with a different frequency and distribution and that they have different functional values as far as discourse topic introduction and management are concerned.

Prosodic analysis –consisting in a phonetic description of tonal contours of the requests– pays special attention to if and how information structure and morfo-syntax correlate with intonation. Results suggest that information structure and prosodic realizations do interact in so far as pragmatic functions of topic and comment systematically show specific melodic patterns. On the contrary, our analysis does not reveal a direct connection between morfo-syntactic structures and melodic patterns of request, either in Italian or in Spanish.

Interlinguistic comparison shows that some kinds of requests present a different intonation in Italian and Spanish, with relevant implications on teaching Italian to Spanish-speaking learners and, vice versa, on teaching Spanish to Italian-speaking learners.

Considering our results in the interface between pragmatics and prosody, we can conclude that intonation plays a crucial role in the construction of the functional systems of requests: each request shows its intonation pattern. Nevertheless, functional contribution of intonation varies and it seems to depend on the interaction with various kinds of linguistic and extralinguistic factors, strongly related to the real context of utterance.

Our findings provide empirical evidence which shows that even if it presents various theoretical and methodological problems, the study of linguistic interfaces is very useful and it allows a deeper and a better description compared to the separated analysis of the same linguistic levels.