Browsing by Author "Aho, Eija"

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  • Aho, Eija (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    The common focus of the studies brought together in this work is the prosodic segmentation of spontaneous speech. The theoretically most central aspect is the introduction and further development of the IJ-model of intonational chunking. The study consists of a general introduction and five detailed studies that approach prosodic chunking from different perspectives. The data consist of recordings of face-to-face interaction in several spoken varieties of Finnish and Finland Swedish; the methodology is usage-based and qualitative. The term “speech prosody” refers primarily to the melodic and rhythmic characteristics of speech. Both speaking and understanding speech require the ability to segment the flow of speech into suitably sized prosodic chunks. In order to be usage-based, a study of spontaneous speech consequently needs to be based on material that is segmented into prosodic chunks of various sizes. The segmentation is seen to form a hierarchy of chunking. The prosodic models that have so far been developed and employed in Finland have been based on sentences read aloud, which has made it difficult to apply these models in the analysis of spontaneous speech. The prosodic segmentation of spontaneous speech has not previously been studied in detail in Finland. This research focuses mainly on the following three questions: (1) What are the factors that need to be considered when developing a model of prosodic segmentation of speech, so that the model can be employed regardless of the language or dialect under analysis? (2) What are the characteristics of a prosodic chunk, and what are the similarities in the ways chunks of different languages and varieties manifest themselves that will make it possible to analyze different data according to the same criteria? (3) How does the IJ-model of intonational chunking introduced as a solution to question (1) function in practice in the study of different varieties of Finnish and Finland Swedish? The boundaries of the prosodic chunks were manually marked in the material according to context-specific acoustic and auditory criteria. On the basis of the data analyzed, the IJ-model was further elaborated and implemented, thus allowing comparisons between different language varieties. On the basis of the empirical comparisons, a prosodic typology is presented for the dialects of Swedish in Finland. The general contention is that the principles of the IJ-model can readily be used as a methodological tool for prosodic analysis irrespective of language varieties.