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An Experimental study on utterance disambiguation using prosody

Shin, Dong-Jin 1

1전주대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The syntactic structure of utterances is sometimes ambiguous, so one sentence can actually have more than one meaning. Nonetheless, the listener correctly understands the speaker’s intentions when listening to the speaker. To resolve this ambiguity, the speaker and the listener use prosodic features such as deliberately breaking between words and words, or assigning a certain degree of intensity to the critical word. Since prosody plays an important role in conversation, investigating the relationship between the prosodic cues and the syntactic structure is very important in order to understand cognitive processes of human speech. The goal of this study is to investigate how the prosodic cues accurately conveyed the proper meaning of the sentences that are syntactically ambiguous. We also investigate whether different cues are used in order to remove the syntactic ambiguity between native English speakers and Korean learners of English. In particular, we examined how the prosodic element removes the ambiguity in the sentence while controlling the surface structure of the sentences. Also, the current study examined the correlation between English proficiency of Korean L2 learners and the disambiguation accuracy in perception. The result showed that both speaker groups used both cues in disambiguating sentences, but their use of cues patterned differently. In terms of perception test, the correlation between English proficiency and disambiguiation showed a statistically insignificant correlation. The current study has found that both native and L2 speakers were able to use acoustic cues in disambiguating sentences, and leave an open question for further study.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.