Appositive Relative Clauses and their prosodic realization in spoken discourse

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Recent research on discourse has shown that Appositive Relative Clauses (ARCs) can be defined positively in spite of a long tradition in which they are defined asymmetrically with respect to Determinative Relative Clauses (DRCs). Particularly, Loock (2007) has shown that ARCs fulfill specific discourse functions, and distinguishes three categories: Relevance, Subjectivity and Continuative ARCs. This paper aims to show that, for the same syntactic structure, different functions in discourse correspond not only to specific morphosyntactic and semantic criteria, but also to different prosodic realisations. Using attested examples taken from electronic corpora and analysed using semi-automatic procedures within Praat, this paper suggests that a distinction can be made between ARC types such as defined in Loock’s study, with for instance higher onset values for subjectivity ARCs, a cue of stronger discourse discontinuity. This paper also addresses the prosodic realization of ARCs as opposed to the general category of parentheticals, which generally include ARCs.


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