- Prosodic focus in Vietnamese (2007)
- This paper reports on pilot work on the expression of Information Structure in Vietnamese and argues that Focus in Vietnamese is exclusively expressed prosodically: there are no specific focus markers, and the language uses phonology to express intonational emphasis in similar ways to languages like English or German. The exploratory data indicates that (i) focus is prosodically expressed while word order remains constant, (ii) listeners show good recoverability of the intended focus structure, and (iii) that there is a trading relationship between several phonetic parameters (duration, f0, amplitude) involved to signal prosodic (acoustic) emphasis.
- Structuring information through gesture and intonation (2005)
- Face-to-face communication is multimodal. In unscripted spoken discourse we can observe the interaction of several “semiotic layers”, modalities of information such as syntax, discourse structure, gesture, and intonation. We explore the role of gesture and intonation in structuring and aligning information in spoken discourse through a study of the co-occurrence of pitch accents and gestural apices. Metaphorical spatialization through gesture also plays a role in conveying the contextual relationships between the speaker, the government and other external forces in a naturally-occurring political speech setting.
- The usage and distribution of "so" in spontaneous Berlin Kiezdeutsch (2010)
- In this paper I investigate the usage of the adverb and particle 'so' in spontaneous speech (interviews) collected from 21 speakers of the urban multi-ethnolectal youth language Kiezdeutsch. Speakers from the neighborhoods Kreuzberg and Wedding in Berlin are ranging in age from 14 to 18. The 1454 tokens of so available in the corpus (about 5 hours of speech) were classified into 10 different categories; some were structurally defined while others were defined along dimensions of meaning. Our current results indicate that there are differential usages patterns depending on the speaker's gender and age for some of these categories. Further, it appears that some patterns that have been attributed grammatical meaning may not appear frequently enough to establish a separate meaningful grammatical category. Rather, most instances of this kind of use of so appear to have a hedging function, indicating speakers' non-commitance to a specific circumstance.