Units and constituency in prosodic analysis:a quantitative assessment

Wilson, Andrew (2017) Units and constituency in prosodic analysis:a quantitative assessment. Journal of Quantitative Linguistics, 24 (2-3). pp. 163-177. ISSN 0929-6174

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Drawing on methods from quantitative linguistics, this paper tests the hypothesis that the intonation unit is a valid language construct whose immediate constituent is the foot (and whose own immediate constituent is the syllable). If the hypothesis is true, then the lengths of intonation units, measured in feet, should abide by a regular and parsimonious discrete probability distribution, and the immediate constituency relationship between feet and intonation units should be further demonstrable by successfully fitting the Menzerath-Altmann equation with a negative exponent. However, out of sixteen texts from the Aix-MARSEC database, only six share a common probability distribution and only eight exhibit a tolerable fit of the Menzerath-Altmann equation. A failure rate of ≥ 50% in both cases casts doubt on the validity of the hypothesis.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Quantitative Linguistics
Additional Information:
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Quantitative Linguistics on 24/11/2016, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/09296174.2016.1260275
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Deposited On:
05 Apr 2016 12:22
Last Modified:
17 Sep 2023 01:49