The relation between syntactic and prosodic parenthesis

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It is a common assumption in previous research on parentheticals that syntactic and prosodic parentheses coincide such that strings that are parentheticals in the syntax are marked by certain defining prosodic characteristics in speech. Based on the analysis of a set of spontaneous British English speech data this paper shows that a one-to-one relation of this kind does not exist. Rather, there are a number of options for the prosodic realisation of syntactic parenthesis, including prototypical patterns along with various ways of prosodic integration. It follows from the results that the prediction made by prosodic theory that parentheticals form separate intonation domains is too strong in the light of actual spoken language data.


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