Speaker: Duane Watson
Title: What Prosody can tell us about Language and Psychology
Abstract: One of the central debates in the language sciences is whether linguistic representations can be divided into those that represent competence, i.e. linguistic knowledge, and those that represent performance, i.e. psychological processes that use that knowledge. Prosody is perhaps unique among linguistic representations in that it conveys information about linguistic structure, the psychological processes that underlie it, as well as emotion and affective information. In this talk, I will present work from my lab, as well as the prosody literature more generally, that suggests that prosody is determined by a number of different factors such as optimizing the signal for listeners, timing speech processes related to language production, syntax, and semantic structure. By studying prosody, language scientists can gain insight into linguistic structure (e.g. syntax, semantics, and discourse), psychological processes (e.g. production and comprehension), and how the two interact.