Transitivity and Intonation: A Preliminary Account of Transitive Lowering
Katten, David Andrew
Doctor of Philosophy
Are subjects produced differently based on the transitivity of the clause they are embedded in? Based on data from a narrative reading experiment, it is shown that transitive subjects are produced with a lower f0 than intransitive subjects and that this difference is statistically significant (p∠0.05). It is suggested that the purpose for such a difference originates from a propensity for English speakers to accent new referents, which are common in the object position. By lowering the f0 of the subject, speakers increase the efficacy of an accent on a new object later in the clause. Finally, the read narrative procedure is evaluated for its strict control of stimuli, while also reproducing known intonational phenomena.
Language; Literature; Linguistics; Transitive lowering; Prosody