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Pragmatic focus interpretation. Interplay between context and audiovisual prosody?

: Wollermann, C.; Schröder, B.; Schade, U.

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Univ. Bielefeld:
2nd Gesture and Speech in Interaction, GESPIN 2011. Proceedings. Online resource : Bielefeld, 5-7 September 2011
Bielefeld, 2011
6 pp.
Gesture and Speech in Interaction (GESPIN) <2, 2011, Bielefeld>
Conference Paper, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer FKIE ()

We present an experimental study on the effect of context and of audiovisual prosody on pragmatic focus interpretation. The audiovisual material was elicited from our previous production study on the exhaustivity of answers. Here we recorded nine German speakers who were instructed to read dialogues with embedded question-answer pairs in which the answer constituted the pragmatic focus of the utterance. We varied the context regarding (un)certainty and (non-)exhaustivity. It was characterized by the occurrence of different accent types accompanied by different visual cues. In our current study we presented the audiovisual material to 45 subjects to test to what extent the variation of audiovisual prosody and of context effects exhaustivity. Focus interpretation was tested by using pictures showing the (non-)exhaustive reading. Our results suggest an influence of the context and accentuation on the focus interpretation, but weaker than expected. Expected effects of eyebrow movement barely occur.