The Prosody of the Czech Discourse Marker 'Jasně': An Analysis of Forms and Functions

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Words like yeah, okay and (al) right are fairly unspecific in their lexical semantics, and not least for this reason there is a general tendency for them to occur with highly varied and expressive prosodic patterns across languages. Here we examine in depth the prosodic forms that express eight pragmatic functions of the Czech discourse marker jasne, including resignation, reassurance, surprise, indifference or impatience. Using a collection of 172 tokens from a corpus of scripted dialogues by 30 native speakers, we performed acoustic analyses, applied classification algorithms and solicited judgments from native listeners in a perceptual experiment. There appeared to be multi-parametric differences between jasne realizations in terms of their F0, timing and intensity patterns, which gave rise to generally consistent form-function mappings. For example, resignation seems to be realized with a falling intonation contour, relatively slow tempo, long word-initial consonant and a short word-final vowel. Although the most significant prosodic parameters used for clustering analysis involved segment durations, all pragmatic functions were expressed by patterns of multiple features. (C) 2017 S. Karger AG, Basel
Issue number3-4
Pages (from-to)314-337
StatePublished - 2016

    Research areas

  • communicative functions spontaneous speech read recognition intonation perception features english german Acoustics Audiology & Speech-Language Pathology Linguistics