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Prosody and politeness: The effect of power, distance, and imposition on the production and perception of polar questions in requests

thesis
posted on 2024-04-23, 00:46 authored by Bruno Staszkiewicz GarciaBruno Staszkiewicz Garcia

The present dissertation addresses the gap of how the three contextual variables (power, distance, and imposition) affect the use and perception of pitch range and final pitch contours in Central Peninsular Spanish polar questions. The methodological approach in this dissertation combines a production experiment in the form of a contextualized sentence-reading task (e.g., Brown et al., 2014; Henriksen, 2013) and a perception experiment using a pragmatic judgment task (e.g., Nadeu & Prieto, 2011). Both tasks systematically incorporated a set of situations that included the contextual variables of power, distance, and imposition. Thus, this dissertation provides a systematic analysis of power, distance, and imposition to investigate their influence on the use and perception of pitch range and pitch contours. To analyze pitch in the production experiment, a categorical analysis of final pitch contours (e.g., low-rising contour) and a quantitative analysis of prosodic features (i.e., pitch range and its conversion into semitones) were conducted. For the perception experiment, analyses included the comparison of linear mixed models to examine the perceived degree of politeness.

The findings presented in this dissertation support the Frequency Code Hypothesis in that they showed the relevance of pitch for signaling and perceiving politeness in requests in Spanish. The results from the production experiment suggested there are no effects of power, distance, and imposition on the selection of final intonational contours. Regarding the analysis of pitch range, the results from the production experiment indicated that the use of greater pitch range was associated with an increase in the social distance between the speakers. In the perception experiment, the results indicated that an increase in pitch range was directly associated with an increase in the perceived degree of politeness. Furthermore, the findings from this dissertation provided evidence for including a systematic analysis of the contextual variables of power, distance, and imposition to conduct analyses within the politeness framework instead of analyzing the formal/informal dimension in isolation The overall results of this dissertation contribute to the understanding of how suprasegmental features are employed in showing and perceivicing politeness.

History

Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy

Department

  • Languages and Cultures

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Lori A. Czerwionka

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

Daniel J. Olson

Additional Committee Member 2

Olga Dmitrieva

Additional Committee Member 3

Alexander L. Francis

Additional Committee Member 4

Atsushi Fukada