The effect of interpretation bias on the production of disambiguating prosody

Wook Kyung Choe, Melissa A. Redford
2013 Journal of the Acoustical Society of America  
Previous research on syntactic processing shows that the interpretation of a syntactically ambiguous sentence is frequently strongly biased towards one meaning over another. The current study investigated the effect of bias strength on the production of disambiguating prosody for English ambiguous sentences. In Experiment 1, 40 speakers gave default readings of 18 syntactically ambiguous sentences. Questioning was used to prove intended meanings behind default readings. Intended meanings were
more » ... eated as interpretation biases when a majority of speakers read a sentence with the same intended meaning. The size of the majority was used to establish bias strength. In Experiment 2, 10 speakers were instructed to use prosody to disambiguate given alternate meanings of the sentences from Experiment 1. The results indicated an effect of bias strength on disambiguating prosody: speakers used temporal juncture cues to reliably disambiguate alternate meanings for sentences with a weak interpretation bias, but not for those with a strong bias. Overall, the results indicated that interpretation biases strongly affect the production of prosody.
doi:10.1121/1.4806523 fatcat:2x6piamrvndffor6b6di4ijlli