The prosodic marking of information status in Malaysian English

Gut Ulrike, Pillai Stefanie, Mohd Don Zuraidah

Research article (journal)


This paper investigates the prosodic strategies used by Malaysian speakers of English tomark the information status of new and given discourse elements. Thirty speakers of Malaysian Englishwere recorded both when playing a game designed by Swerts, Krahmer, and Avesani (2002) to elicitsemi-spontaneous speech and when reading out a 179-word story. Pitch accent placement in the semispontaneousspeech was analysed auditorily, while six given and new word pairs in each reading passagewere analysed acoustically in terms of the phonetic realisation of the pitch accent (following Atterer andLadd 2004). In addition, 11 speakers of Malaysian English participated in a perception experiment testingtheir identification of new and given discourse elements in these recordings. Results show that Malaysianspeakers of English do not mark given and new information with distinct pitch accent placement and that itis not possible to categorise these utterance elements unambiguously according to their information status.The acoustic analysis showed that given information is marked by a later pitch trough and a smaller risethan new information. No difference between the two, however, was found in terms of pitch peak alignment.

Details zur Publikation

Release year: 2013
Language in which the publication is writtenEnglish