Chaire Internationale 2021 LabEx EFL : Mariapaola D'Imperio

Mariapaola D'Imperio (Rutgers University - USA)
Prosodic interfaces with pragmatic meaning : a laboratory phonology perspective

Traditionally, prosodic studies have focused on the study of intonational form on one side and the study of intonational meaning on the other, without paying full attention to the impact of details of the specific formal properties (nuclear vs prenuclear accent information, tonal alignment, phrasal location) and or phonetic information (boundary strength, ‘second occurrence’ focus, etc.) on meaning interpretation. As a result, there is no firm agreement within the linguistic community on how to integrate the analysis of intonational meaning across languages into a unified prosodic, semantic, and pragmatic approach.

Moreover, aspects of graduality in the expression of intonational form (e.g. pitch span information) have been largely ignored to the purpose of the expression and perception of potentially gradual pragmatic meaning, such as epistemic bias. Finally, the impact of socio-indexical and cognitive variables on intonation- meaning mapping is only starting to be uncovered (Estève-Gibert et al. 2020, Warren 2017, Portes & German 2019, Orrico & D’Imperio, in revision, Orrico et al. 2018, 2019a, 2019b, 2020, Cason et al. 2019, Dittinger et al. 2018, inter alia).

This seminar series will hence provide an overview of the literature on intonational meaning, covering recent advances in the fields of prosody and its interfaces with semantics/pragmatics. First, I will present the intonational phonology framework arguing that intonation is part of linguistic grammar, by showing typological differences that run counter a universal treatment of phonetic cues traditionally associated with prosody and intonation. I will then present an overview of meaning models of intonation touching upon issues of compositionality, modality, epistemic bias, and the many-to-many mapping of form and function. In the third seminar, I will dwell on different kinds of experimental evidence (intonation processing, discourse completion tasks, etc.) testing different theoretical assumptions and intonation perception issues (e.g. D’Imperio & Dorokhova 2019). I will finally present a hands-on tutorial aimed at helping high-level students and researchers in preparing perception stimuli to test intonation-meaning mapping with different techniques (Eyetracking, mousetracking, offline judgments, categorical perception, ERP studies).

Students are expected to do weekly readings and participate in class discussions.

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