Lecture: Prosody and chunking
This talk will be a work-in-progress report of my MA thesis dealing with how prosody relates to and informs chunking phenomena. Even though prosodic features, such as intonation, pauses and stress, naturally group items together in spoken language, the focus of studies concerned with chunking is often on analyzing transcribed spoken language, e.g., the spoken parts of COCA or the BNC (for English), and not the analysis of actual audio recordings. Furthermore, few studies have dealt with prosody and chunking from a diachronic perspective.
This talk aims to give insight into chunking phenomena from both a synchronic and a diachronic perspective by analyzing data from two comparable data sets, the London-Lund-Corpus 1 (containing prosodically annotated spoken English from the 1960s and 1970s) and the London-Lund Corpus 2 (a spoken corpus with audio from the 2010s). The examples that will be discussed are "sort of/kind of/ type of"-constructions (showing the connection between phonetic reduction and grammaticalization), the "time"-compounds "every time" and "any time" (showing stress shifts and grammaticalization), and the "thing is is that" construction (showing the connection between syntactic reanalysis and the shifting of boundary tones).