Prosody, grammar and discourse structure

The Joint Faculties of Humanities and Theology | Lund University

Prosody, grammar and discourse structure

Part of the SDS (Swedish Dialogue Systems) project funded by the Swedish Language Technology Programme (NUTEK / HSFR).

Department of Linguistics and Phonetics

Lund University

Researchers

The goal of this project was to gain a better understanding of the role of prosody in spontaneous speech, in particular spontaneous dialogue. The project focussed on those aspects of dialogue prosody that have direct relevance for the development of man-machine dialogue systems. Topics investigated include: how prosodic information interacts with lexical and syntactic information in order  1) to mark boundaries between topic units as well as between topic-internal units and 2) to express the contrast between 'new' and 'given' information (or between different levels of 'accessibility' or 'centrality' as regards discourse referents and events
The project data was also made available to undergraduate students for their term paper studies. Two studies were carried out by B.A. students, one dealing with 3) the relationship between pause length and the function that pauses serve in dialogue and one dealing with 4) feedback and its relationship to speech acts in dialogue.
Petra Hansson’s doctoral dissertation on phrasing and accentuation in Swedish was also a result of the project.