Zappoli, Alessandra (2019) The perception of intonation in native and non-native linguistic contexts and by different individuals: From question-answer categorization to the integration of prosody and discourse structure. PhD thesis, University of Trento.
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This thesis addresses the cognitive foundations of categorization and acquisition of intonational categories in native (L1) and second language (L2). It focuses on the link between the processing of intonational categories and the and pragmatic functions of language. The thesis reports two behavioral psychoacoustic experiments that studied the disambiguation of sentence-modality (statement vs. question) signaled by sentence-final Boundary Tones by manipulating lexical and linguistic status of the underlying segmental information. A third ERPs experiment studied with ERPs the association of specific Pitch Accents with the discourse status of a referent in German and how different processing-correlates of PA violation are processed in L1 and L2 speakers. In all experiments, specific attention has been devoted to individual differences both at the theoretical and empirical level. I showed that perceivers can display variability in processing as a function of biographic factors, in the quantity and quality of training in a second language, and in the presence of variables related to the construct of Theory-of-Mind (ToM). I support the view that the processing of intonational categories, modulated by Fundamental Frequency contours, links with the processing of segmental information, the semantic access at word-level, and the decoding of the information structure within the discourse model. The study of processing of pitch contours is a highly multidisciplinary discipline, but the different theoretical perspectives are not always considered within specific research. I propose to approach the study of pitch processing by trying to integrate the different theoretical and empirical approaches with the aim to use the available knowledge. This broader perspective considers the auditory categorization process, the integration of the sound-domain information with higher-order linguistic structure, and the modeling of individual variability of the perceivers. I support the view that the presence of individual traits that favor the efficient decoding of the interlocutor’s perspective and intentions correlates with a more efficient processing of the discourse information structure. I propose that this is observable through the manipulation of the associated intonational categories. I think that the adoption of a multidisciplinary perspective, centered on the processing of intonational categories, and the approach developed in this thesis is relevant to develop further the study of specific populations known to display less efficient processing of the pragmatic aspects of discourse, such as individuals with Autism Spectrum Conditions.
|Item Type:||Doctoral Thesis (PhD)|
|Doctoral School:||Psychological Sciences and Education|
|Subjects:||Area 10 - Scienze dell'antichità, filologico-letterarie e storico-artistiche > L-LIN/01 GLOTTOLOGIA E LINGUISTICA|
|Repository Staff approval on:||12 Feb 2019 09:07|
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