Now move X into cell Y: intonation of 'now' in on-line reference resolution
Braun, B., & Chen, A.
Now move X into cell Y: intonation of 'now' in on-line reference resolution. In P. Barbosa, S. Madureira, & C. Reis (Eds.
), Proceedings of the 4th International Conferences on Speech Prosody
(pp. 477-480). Campinas: Editora RG/CNPq.
Prior work has shown that listeners efficiently exploit prosodic information both in the discourse referent and in the preceding modifier to identify the referent. This study investigated whether listeners make use of prosodic information prior to the ENTIRE referential expression, i.e. the intonational realization of the adverb 'now', to identify the upcoming referent. The adverb ‘now’ can be used to draw attention to contrasting information in the sentence. (e.g., ‘put the book on the bookshelf. Now put the pen on the bookshelf.’). It has been shown for Dutch that nu ('now') is realized prosodically differently in different information structural contexts though certain realizations occur across information structural contexts.
In an eye-tracking experiment we tested two hypotheses regarding the role of the intonation of nu in online reference resolution in Dutch: the “irrelevant intonation” hypothesis, whereby listeners make no use of the intonation of nu, vs. the “linguistic intonation” hypothesis, whereby listeners are sensitive to the conditional probabilities between different intonational realizations of nu and the referent. Our findings show that listeners employ the intonation of nu to identify the upcoming referent. They are mislead by an accented nu but correctly interpret an unaccented nu as referring to a new, unmentioned entity.