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Chapter 10. The role of prosody in a Czech talk-show

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Abstract

Prosody plays an important role in all types of speech and in every conversation. One important function of prosody is its ability to contextualise what has been said (Auer & de Luzio 1992). With the help of prosody in conversation, speakers can also transfer previous utterances of their conversational partners into another context, especially if responding to them. By doing this, they can alter the meaning of what their partners have said; they can change serious speech into non-serious speech and/or into irony, mockery, and so on. One important way of achieving this is “stylized prosodic orientation.” As the author of this concept says, “[b]y prosodically stylizing a previous non-stylized item or action, participants introduce a new perspective on it.” (Szczepek Reed 2006: 147). By using such prosodic stylization, the new speaker (former recipient) brings a voice into the conversation which is not only new, but is literally unexpected, and hence strange and alienated. In this paper, I will show how one particular host of a popular Czech TV talk show uses prosody as a means of joking or making fun of guests, and I will also show which particular aspects of prosody he uses to place the answers of his guests into another context and genre.

References

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