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The prosody of other-repetition in British and North American English

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 April 2020

Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen*
Affiliation:
University of Helsinki, Finland
*
Address for correspondence: Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen, Bogotastrasse 4, 14163Berlin, Germanyelizabeth.couper-kuhlen@helsinki.fi

Abstract

This study explores the link between prosody and other-repetition in a moderately large collection from everyday English talk-in-interaction (n = 200). British English and North American English cases were analysed separately in order to track possible varietal differences. Of initial interest was the question whether focal pitch accents might disambiguate among other-repetition actions, both those related to repair and those that go beyond repair. The results indicate that only two out of six possible other-repetition actions are associated with distinct focal pitch contours in the two varieties. For all other repair and beyond-repair actions speakers use many of the same pitch contours nondistinctively. Overall, falling contours appear more frequently in British other-repetitions, while rising contours are more frequent in North American other-repetitions. In conclusion, it is argued that in addition to pitch contour, prosodic features such as pitch span, loudness, and timing are crucial in distinguishing other-repetition actions, as are nonprosodic factors such as epistemic access (often reflected in oh-prefacing) and visible behavior. (Repair initiation, surprise, challenge, registering, pitch accents, oh-preface, epistemics)*

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

*

I am grateful to two anonymous reviewers for constructive criticism and especially to Giovanni Rossi for help in improving this article. All remaining errors are my own.

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