ERIC Number: ED187112
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1977
Reference Count: N/A
On the Function and Use of Stress in Discourse.
A telephone conversation was transcribed and marked for stress. A portion of the transcription, not marked for stress, was given to native English speakers who were asked to underline the word(s) in each sentence or phrase that should receive the most prominent stress. The overlap of actual stress and the assignments of the participants who were not linguists averaged 40%. Linguists achieved an overlap rate of 56%. Participants showed little agreement with one another. However, there was a tendency to focus on words of high semantic or informational content. Lack of correspondence between actual stress and assignments is attributed to a failure of participants to consider the discourse history, and to prefer dealing with one line at a time. Stress assignments by participants who heard the discourse read aloud showed an overlap rate of 71.5%. Since stress assignment accuracy for out-of-context phrases is not significantly less accurate than for in-context phrases, it seems that discourse context is useful chiefly to those engaged in actual conversation, and that, beyond a certain point, speaker intentions are not available to the reader of a transcription. These results are seen as implying a role for stress analysis in clarifying the notions of competence and performance. (JB)
Descriptors: Connected Discourse, Discourse Analysis, Language Research, Linguistic Competence, Linguistic Performance, Linguistic Theory, Speech Communication, Standard Spoken Usage, Stress (Phonology)
Berkeley Linguistics Society, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720 ($8.20 for entire Proceedings).
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A