Prof. Dr. Frank Kügler
Goethe University Frankfurt
Frank Kügler is Professor of Linguistics at Goethe University Frankfurt. His research interests are in cross-linguistic prosody from various different perspectives such as the expression and modelling of information structure, prominence and sentence mode in typologically unrelated languages, the interaction of tone and intonation, and prosodic phrasing and recursive prosodic constituents at the prosody-syntax interface. His recent interests include also the gestural marking of prosody. He has worked on the prosody of a number of typologically diverse languages including Mandarin, Hindi, Akan, Tswana, Ghanaian English, Yucatec Maya, Hungarian, and German among others.
- Grice, Martine & Kügler, Frank (2021) Prosodic Prominence – A Cross-Linguistic Perspective. Language and Speech, 64, 2, 253–260. https://doi.org/10.1177/00238309211015768
- Kügler, Frank (2016) Tone and intonation in Akan. In: Downing, Laura J. & Rialland, Annie (eds) Intonation in African Tone Languages. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 89-129.
- Kügler, Frank, Baumann, Stefan & Röhr, Christine T. (2022) Deutsche Intonation, Modellierung und Annotation (DIMA) – Richtlinien zur prosodischen Annotation des Deutschen. In Schwarze, Cordula & Grawunder, Sven (eds.) Transkription und Annotation gesprochener Sprache und multimodaler Interaktion: Konzepte, Probleme, Lösungen. Tübingen: Narr, 23-54.
- Kügler, Frank & Sasha Calhoun. 2020. Prosodic Encoding of Information Structure: A typological perspective. In Carlos Gussenhoven & Aoju Chen (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Language Prosody, 453–467. Oxford: OUP.
- Kügler, Frank & Caroline Féry. 2017. Postfocal downstep in German. Language and Speech 60(2). 260–288.
Prof. Dr. Pilar Prieto
Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona
Pilar Prieto is an ICREA Research Professor at the Department of Translation and Language Sciences at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Catalunya. Her research focuses on the communicative role of prosody and gesture in language, as well as their significance in language development and second language learning. In the last years, she has worked on the multimodal marking of Information Structure, in both adult and children’s discourse. She currently serves as associate editor of the journals Language and Speech and Frontiers in Communication, and is coediting a special issue of the “Language and Cognition” journal on Multimodal Prosody.
- Brown, Lucien & Pilar Prieto. 2021. Gesture and prosody in multimodal communication. In Michael Haugh, Dániel Z. Kádár & Marina Terkourafi (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Sociopragmatics, 430–453. Cambridge: CUP.
- Esteve-Gibert, Núria & Pilar Prieto. 2013. Prosodic structure shapes the temporal realization of intonation and manual gesture movements. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 56(3). 850-864.
- Prieto, Pilar, C. Puglesi, J. Borràs-Comes, E. Arroyo & J. Blat. 2015. Exploring the contribution of prosody and gesture to the perception of focus using an animated agent. Journal of Phonetics 49(1). 41-54.
- Rohrer, P., Florit-Pons, M., Vilà-Giménez, I., Prieto, P. (2022). “Children use non-referential gestures in narrative speech to mark discourse elements which update common ground.” Frontiers in Psychology 12:661339. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.661339
- Vanrell, M.M., Stella, A., Gili-Fivela, B., & Prieto, P. (2013). Prosodic manifestations of the Effort Code in Catalan, Italian, and Spanish contrastive focus. Journal of the International Phonetics Association 43(2), pp.195-220.
Goethe University Frankfurt
Alina Gregori received her Bachelors (2021) and Masters (2022) degree in theoretical linguistics at Goethe University Frankfurt with a focus on Phonology. She started working as a PhD student in the project MultIS in October 2022. Within the project, she investigates the prosody-gesture link in communication and the impact of information structure (focus, topic, givenness) on the synchronization of gestures and prosodic entities in German. The bigger picture of the project includes a comparative analysis of German and Catalan with regard to the multimodal marking of information structure. A central aim in MultIS is the empirical approach to previously established prosody-gesture models, considering experimental as well as spontaneous speech utterances. Alina Gregoris MA thesis (title: “Co-speech Gestures, Information Structure and Prosody: A Corpus Study on Prominence Peak Alignment”) served as a pilot and preparation for MultIS.
- Gregori, Alina & Kügler, Frank (2022). An Empirical Investigation on the Perceptual Similarity of Prosodic Language Types. In Proc. 1st International Conference on Tone and Intonation (TAI), 209-213, doi: 10.21437/TAI.2021-43.
Paula G. Sánchez Ramón
Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona
Paula G. Sánchez-Ramón is a first-year PhD student developing her research under an international joint cotutelle between Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, Catalonia) and Goethe Universität (Frankfurt am Main, Germany). She holds a B.A. in Primary Education and Teaching (Universitat Jaume I) with a specialization in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (Universidad Internacional de La Rioja), and an M.A. in Learning Difficulties and Language Disorders with a concentration in Speech and Language (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya). As a member of the project MultIS, her research focuses on the prosodic and gestural marking of information structure in Catalan-speaking adults.
Information structure (IS) can be conceived of as a ‘cognitive domain’ interacting with the linguistic modules syntax, phonology, and morphology to control, update, and infer interlocutors’ common beliefs (Zimmermann & Féry 2010). While the interaction between IS and syntactic and phonological/prosodic patterns has been widely investigated, less is known about the visual marking of IS. From a prosodic standpoint, it is well-known that languages use prosodic features like pitch accentuation to convey IS (Calhoun & Kügler 2020 for a review). For example, in Germanic languages, given referents tend to be deaccented more often than new referents (Baumann & Grice 2006; Baumann & Schumacher 2020; Féry & Kügler 2008; Ladd 2008). By contrast, Romance languages have been reported to place focused constituents in phrase-final position (Zubizarreta 1998) and to lack systematic deaccentuation of given referential expressions (Ladd 2008; Swerts et al. 2002). From a multimodal perspective, it is a well-established fact that co-speech gestures typically align with pitch accented syllables across languages (McNeill 1992; Kendon 2004; Loehr 2004). Even though some gesture studies have hinted at the relationship between the presence of “beat gestures” and the marking of focused information, to our knowledge very few empirical investigations have assessed whether IS has an impact on (a) the presence of co-speech gestures; and (b) the gesture-speech timing patterns, as well as the prominence levels of the whole gesture.
The main goal of this project is to assess the multimodal marking of IS from a crosslinguistic point of view. The two languages under investigation, Catalan and German, share the use of pitch accents for prosodic prominence marking of IS. They differ however in their positioning of accent patterns in relation to IS (variable focus position in German vs. tendency for rightmost focus position in the utterance in Catalan). Starting from the well-established coordination between co-speech gestures and prosodic prominence, the general question we ask is whether different information structural categories are signalled not only by prosodic events but also through the use of co-speech gestures. The project will use both controlled experimental materials as well as speech corpora of spontaneous discourse to analyse the interface between IS marking and prosodic and gestural features. We expect that in both Catalan and German (a) co-speech gestures will be associated more frequently with pitch accents that mark focus domains and novel information; (b) that the time alignment of cospeech gestures with speech will be directly affected by IS domains; and (c) that gesture amplitude patterns are directly correlated with degrees of prosodic prominence. In general, we expect that the presence of co-speech gesture will not be exclusively predicted by the presence/absence of pitch accentuation, but rather will have a unique role that will be predicted by IS