The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Phonology Circle - 5/11 - Jelena Krivokapi?

Time: Monday 5/11, 5pm
Location: 32-D831
Speaker: Jelena Krivokapi? (Yale University)
Title: The production and perception of prosodic structure

Prosodic structure refers to the level of linguistic structure above the segmental level, namely phrasal organization and prominence. This talk examines the temporal and structural properties of phrasal organization as reflected in production and perception. Previous research has shown that prosodic phrase boundaries introduce systematic phonetic variation in the temporal properties of segments. Acoustic studies have found that at boundaries segments increase in duration. Articulatory studies have shown that gestures become longer in the vicinity of boundaries and that this articulatory lengthening increases with boundary strength. I will present a series of experimental studies examining a) the effect of prosodic structure on pause duration in utterances, b) the extent of boundary effects as shown in the articulation of gestures near phrase junctures, c) the categoricity and gradiency in the perception of prosodic boundaries, and d) recursion in prosodic structure. The results inform our understanding of the linguistic representation of prosodic structure and its relation to processes involved in producing spoken language. A model incorporating the results of these studies is proposed.