Quieter, faster, lower, and set off by pauses? Reflections on prosodic aspects of parenthetical constructions in modern German

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Parentheticals are a fascinating way of interrupting spoken and written utterances. This paper focuses on prosodic aspects of the analysis of such constructions in contemporary German. The investigation starts with a discussion of the prosodic features relevant to the study of parentheticals such as discussed in previous literature – intensity, articulation rate, fundamental frequency, pauses, and intonation contours – and, drawing on these features, goes on to discuss data from recent parliamentary debates. The results show that future prosodic studies should focus on the transition zone between the part of the anchor clause preceding the parenthetical construction, and the parenthetical construction itself.


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