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Dagmar Barth-Weingarten

The fuzziness of intonation units: Some theoretical considerations and a practical solution 

Talk-in-interaction is structured according to various dimensions. One of them is prosody and the concept of 'intonation unit' has been widely used to capture prosodic structuring. When looking at prosodic chunking in detail, however, transcribers and analysts alike face the problem that, in a considerable number of cases, intonation units do not seem to do justice to language reality, or our perception thereof. This paper adopts earlier suggestions that it may be more helpful to analyze the prosodic-phonetic structuring of talk in terms of what separates the 'units', namely the unit boundaries, or 'cesuras' in talk. In addition, it argues that also weak cesuras should be notated to allow us to adequately reflect the complexity of prosodic-phonetic structuring of talk for notating and analytic purposes. To enable this, notation conventions of various degrees of granularity are suggested. All of this can serve as a basis for investigating the interface of prosodic structuring with other language-organizational dimensions, such as syntax, and the accomplishment of actions.

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 To cite this publication:

Dagmar Barth-Weingarten: The fuzziness of intonation units: Some theoretical considerations and a practical solution, InLiSt - Interaction and Linguistic Structures, No. 51, May 2011, URL: <http://www.inlist.uni-bayreuth.de/issues/51/InLiSt51.pdf>



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