Planning of prosody during production
My newest project investigates how speakers plan prosodic phrasing and intonational contours for speech production. Specifically, we ask at what stage in the planning process do speakers plan to produce a contrastive accent when describing a sequence of objects? We elicit productions by having participants describe a group of three objects in a sequence in which some of the items contrast with each other either in color or identity. This research is currently ongoing.
Intonation in an interactive dialog (SET)
We know that context can have a huge impact on how speakers use intonation, but it is not well understood which of these factors matter when in the production of intonation. To address this question, we have collected a small corpus composed of pairs of participants working together to complete a card game based on the Enterprises Inc. game called SET. By controlling the information each participant has access to, we can reasonably determine the likely intention behind a particular speaker’s utterance and investigate how features of the discourse, along with syntax and lexical choices, affect that speaker’s use of intonation.
Online processing of boundary tones (Gotta)
A fair amount of research has successfully investigated how pitch accents (pitch excursions tied to the stressed syllable of a word) facilitate online language processing, but comparatively little research has looked at boundary tones (pitch excursions aligned to the end of phrases). We developed a targeted language game with eye-tracking that allowed us to tie particular intentions (asking vs telling), as signaled by different boundary tones, to specific moves in a game, and consequently different fixation patterns. We find that participants rapidly integrate the information conveyed by the boundary tones while also taking into account the lexical choices of the speaker. We are now working towards understanding how listeners integrate variability in intonation during online processing.
Intonational contours and pragmatic inferences (Okapeye)
In collaboration with Chigusa Kurumada and colleagues I have been looking at how listeners integrate information from both the context and intonational contours in order to infer speaker meaning. Currently we are focusing on how preceding discourse context can change the interpretation of the same intonational contour.