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ERIC Number: EJ902592
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0163-853X
Prosodic Contrasts in Ironic Speech
Bryant, Gregory A.
Discourse Processes: A Multidisciplinary Journal, v47 n7 p545-566 2010
Prosodic features in spontaneous speech help disambiguate implied meaning not explicit in linguistic surface structure, but little research has examined how these signals manifest themselves in real conversations. Spontaneously produced verbal irony utterances generated between familiar speakers in conversational dyads were acoustically analyzed for prosodic contrasts. A prosodic contrast was defined as a statistically reliable shift between adjacent phrasal units in at least 1 of 5 acoustic dimensions (mean fundamental frequency, fundamental frequency variability, mean amplitude, amplitude variability, and mean syllable duration). Overall, speakers contrasted prosodic features in ironic utterances with utterances immediately preceding them at a higher rate than between adjacent nonironic utterance pairs from the same interactions. Across multiple speakers, ironic utterances were spoken significantly slower than preceding speech, but no other acoustic dimensions changed consistently. This is the first acoustic analysis examining relative prosodic changes in spontaneous ironic speech. Prosodic contrasts are argued to be an important mechanism for communicating implicit emotional and intentional information in speech--and a means to understanding traditional notions of an ironic tone. (Contains 2 tables and 3 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A