Phonological and phonetic marking of information status in Foreign Accent Syndrome

Kuschmann, Anja and Lowit, Anja (2012) Phonological and phonetic marking of information status in Foreign Accent Syndrome. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 47 (6). pp. 738-749. ISSN 1368-2822

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    Abstract

    This study investigated the phonological and phonetic markers of information status (givenness) in speakers with foreign accent syndrome (FAS) and healthy controls (CON). A speech production experiment explored the ability of 4 speakers with FAS (2 male, 2 female; M=56 years) and 4 CON participants (2 male, 2 female; M=55 years) to signal new and given information within a set of short sentences. The data were examined in relation to the use of the phonetic parameters F0, intensity and duration as well as phonological categories, i.e. pitch accents and de-accentuation, using the autosegmental-metrical (AM) framework of intonational analysis. Both speaker groups employed all 3 phonetic parameters to differentiate between new and given information although the FAS group used these markers to a smaller extent. Groups also differed regarding the use of phonological markers, with speakers with FAS placing pitch accents on given information instead of de-accenting these elements. The fact that speakers with FAS marked givenness similarly to control speakers at the phonetic level, but failed to do so using phonological categories highlights the importance of assessing both phonetic as well as phonological features to gain information about the functional use of intonation in clinical populations.