The Linguistic Review
Editor-in-Chief: van der Hulst, Harry
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Pitch accent type matters for online processing of information status: Evidence from natural and synthetic speech
Adopting an eyetracking paradigm, we investigated the role of H*L, L*HL, L*H, H*LH, and deaccentuation at the intonational phrase-final position in online processing of information status in British English in natural speech. The role of H*L, L*H and deaccentuation was also examined in diphonesynthetic speech. It was found that H*L and L*HL create a strong bias towards newness, whereas L*H, like deaccentuation, creates a strong bias towards givenness. In synthetic speech, the same effect was found for H*L, L*H and deaccentuation, but it was delayed. The delay may not be caused entirely by the difference in the segmental quality between synthetic and natural speech. The pitch accent H*LH, however, appears to bias participants' interpretation to the target word, independent of its information status. This finding was explained in the light of the effect of durational information at the segmental level on word recognition.
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