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Prosody in conversational questions
Kurzfassung auf EnglischMy analysis of question-word questions in conversational question-answer sequences results in the decomposition of the conversational question into three systems of constitutive cues, which signal and contextualize the particular activity type in conversational interaction: (1) syntactic structure, (2) semantic relation to prior turn, and (3) prosody. These components are used and combined by interlocutors to distinguish between different activity types which (4) sequentially implicate different types of answers by the recipient in the next turn. Prosody is only one cooccurring cue, but in some cases it is the only distinctive one.
It is shown that prosody, and in particular intonation, cannot be determined or even systematically related to syntactic sentence structure type or other sentence-grammatical principles, as most former and current theories of intonation postulate. Instead, prosody is an independent, autonomous signalling system, which is used as a contextualization device for the constitution of interactively relevant activity types in conversation.
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