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ERIC Number: EJ908844
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 49
ISSN: ISSN-0034-0502
Prosody and Interpretation
Erekson, James A.
Reading Horizons, v50 n2 p80-98 2010
Prosody is a means for "reading with expression" and is one aspect of oral reading competence. This theoretical inquiry asserts that prosody is central to interpreting text, and draws distinctions between "syntactic" prosody (for phrasing) and "emphatic" prosody (for interpretation). While reading with expression appears as a criterion in major assessment instruments (National Center for Education Statistics, 1995), fluency research has focused primarily on syntactic prosody. This article presents lesser-known functions of emphatic (or expressive) prosody. Emphatic prosody in reading helps readers make their inferential thinking manifest. The intent of this article is to elucidate the differences between syntactic and emphatic prosody, and to discuss why this distinction is important for research and teaching. Prosody is appropriate when it guides listeners and readers to interpret using context. As readers become more competent at the imagined discourse demanded by print, specific questions can help readers connect prosody to meaning, and to refine interpretations. Some texts show demand for such questions. One implication of this inquiry is that we need text-based research to identify passages where emphatic prosody can help readers connect to possible interpretations. Other implications for future research include questions about the learning and development of emphatic prosody, and the nature of prosodic thinking during silent reading. (Contains 1 figure.)
Western Michigan University, College of Education. 1903 West Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI 49008. Tel: 269-387-3498; Fax: 269-387-6272; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A