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Text & Talk

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse & Communication Studies

Ed. by Sarangi, Srikant

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Volume 34, Issue 4


The realization of pitch reset in Finnish print interpreting data

Mari Wiklund
Published Online: 2014-06-27 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2014-0013


Speakers use intonation in order to group spoken sentences together into larger units. One such grouping is often referred to as “paragraph intonation.” One of its principal characteristics is that the beginning of a new speech paragraph is marked with a high pitch level at the beginning of the first spoken sentence. This phenomenon is called “pitch reset.” The present article discusses the role of the pitch reset in Finnish data coming from two situations where conference-like monologous presentations are being interpreted by professional print interpreters. “Print interpreting” is a mode of communication where the speech is being simultaneously transferred into written form so that deaf and hard-of-hearing people can have access to it.

The study shows, on the one hand, that the pitch reset phenomenon can be found also in Finnish data. On the other hand, the results show that the pitch reset constitutes a prosodic sign that almost always leads to a paragraph division in the written target text. This implies that the print interpreters treat speech paragraphs as topical units, and that the pitch reset plays an important role in the structuring of discourse. The study is mainly based on Wichmann's (2000) approach, which constitutes an interface between discourse analysis and intonation studies.

Keywords: pitch reset; intonation; Finnish prosody; phonetics; print interpreting; discourse analysis

About the article

Mari Wiklund

Mari Wiklund (née Lehtinen) received her PhD in French philology at the University of Helsinki in 2009. Her dissertation concerned French prosody. In 2009–2010, she worked as a university lecturer. In 2011–2012 she worked as a post-doctoral researcher in a project called “Print interpreting: process, comprehensibility, and technology,” funded by the Academy of Finland. Currently, her main research project concerns Asperger children's interaction (prosody, gaze behavior, and misunderstanding situations). Address for correspondence: Department of Modern Languages, PO Box 24, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland 〈mari.wiklund@helsinki.fi〉.

Published Online: 2014-06-27

Published in Print: 2014-07-01

Citation Information: Text & Talk, Volume 34, Issue 4, Pages 491–520, ISSN (Online) 1860-7349, ISSN (Print) 1860-7330, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2014-0013.

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