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Working Papers in Linguistics: Volume 54 (Autumn 2000)

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  1. Front Matter (Number 54, Autumn 2000)

  2. Unus Testis, Nullus Testis? The Significance of a Single Token in a Problem of Later Medieval Greek Syntax

    Pappas, Panayiotis A.
    In this brief paper I examine the placement of weak object pronouns in Later Medieval Greek when the verb is preceded by the negative marker οὐ. For the first time a detailed list of the occurrences of this phenomenon in 10 texts is presented and the distinction between οὐ "not" and ἄν oὐ "if not" is taken into consideration. The results show that pronouns are placed postverbally if οὐ precedes the verb, but preverbally if ἄν oὐ precedes the verb. I propose a tentative explanation for this differentiation based on the singular but robust occurrence of a counterexample in the...

  3. Sound Change Across Speech Islands: the Diphthong /aɪ/ in Two Midwestern Pennsylvania German Communities

    Keiser, Steve Hartman
    This paper analyzes the variable production of the Pennsylvania German diphthong /aɪ/ in two Pennsylvania German speech islands in Iowa and Ohio. The data show that younger speakers regularly monophthongize /aɪ/, yielding [ɛː] or even (in Ohio only) [eː], and perceptual studies show that the latter form merges with the vowel space of the phoneme /eː/. This sound change is shown to be an example of language drift (i.e., internally motivated), though its spread across distant speech islands is suggestive of significant ongoing patterns of interaction between these speech islands.

  4. An Autosegmental/Metrical Analysis of Serbo-Croatian Intonation

    Godjevac, Svetlana
    Based on the qualitative analysis of the F0 contours of wide range of utterances (broad focus declaratives, broad focus questions, narrow focus declaratives, narrow focus questions, vocative chant, and prompting intonation) utterred by nine native speakers, an autosegmental/metrical analysis of Standard Selbo-Croatian intonation is proposed. This analysis argues for sparse specification of tones, contra Inkelas and Zee (1988), and two levels of prosodic phrasing: the phonological word and the intonational phrase. The phonological word is defined in terms of a lexical pitch accent and an initial word boundary tone, whereas the intonational phrase is a domain defined by pitch range...

  5. Acoustic-perceptual Correlates of Sentence Prominence in Italian

    D'Imperio, Mariapaola
    Research on the acoustic correlates of perceived accentual prominence has generally focused on fundamental frequency (F0) alone, while few studies have attempted to shed light on how other parameters, such as duration and intensity, might interact with F0. A previous study on Italian lexical stress perception shows that duration has a major role. The present work reports on results of an experiment using synthetic speech to test which aspects of the signal, among F0, duration and intensity, are more influential in the perception of prominence structure at the sentence level and whether there are differences between questions and statements. To...

  6. Presupposition Resolution With Discourse Information Structures

    Davis, Paul C.
    An approach to resolving a number of presuppositional phenomena, including definite descriptions and pronominal anaphora, is described within the larger context of an architecture for query-based, task-oriented human/computer dialogue. The model of discourse context employed assumes that discourse structure is organized around a stack of questions under discussion, which plays an important role in narrowing the search space for referents and other presupposed information. The algorithms of individual presuppositional operators for maintaining discourse structures are presented and illustrated in several example dialogues in which human users interact with an agent in order to make hotel reservations. The overall architecture is...

  7. Tagging Prosody and Discourse Structure in Elicited Spontaneous Speech

    Beckman, Mary E.; Venditti, Jennifer J.
    This paper motivates and describes the annotation and analysis of prosody and discourse structure for several large spoken language corpora. The annotation schema are of two types: tags for prosody and intonation, and tags for several aspects of discourse structure. The choice of the particular tagging schema in each domain is based in large part on the insights they provide in corpus-based studies of the relationship between discourse structure and the accenting of referring expressions in American English. We first describe these results and show that the same models account for the accenting of pronouns in an extended passage from...

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