Exploring the prosody of stance

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Over the last three decades, several studies have applied corpus-analytical techniques to investigate the ways in which ‘stance’ is expressed in spoken and written discourse. Corpus research has shown that there are strong differences among registers in their reliance on the different types of stance expressions. In general, spoken registers express stance to a much greater extent than written registers. Based on analysis of the Hong Kong Corpus of Spoken English, the present paper explores some of the ways in which prosody interacts with lexico-grammatical structure in the expression of stance. Two major types of stance devices are explored: stance adverbials and stance verb+complement clause constructions. The analysis will focus on the extent to which these stance devices are marked with prosodic prominence (shown by pitch, length, and amplitude) in comparison to other propositional information in the same utterance. These findings will be interpreted relative to two overall goals: 1. to investigate the ways in which prosodic patterns vary across the different types and functions of stance expressions, and 2. to explore the possibility of a general ‘prosody of stance’ in English.


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