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A Prosodic Resolution of German Case Ambiguities

Tina Bögel


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Previous work shows that speakers and listeners can use prosodic information to clarify the meaning of syntactically ambiguous sentences. For German case ambiguities, earlier experiments reveal a significant effect of fundamental frequency, segmental duration and pause duration. This paper reports on an experiment with fully ambiguous sentences caused by case ambiguities in the German determiner system. Its purpose is to find generalisations over the different prosodic cues, thus providing the attributes and their values, which are responsible for the prosodic disambiguation of the German case phenomenon. The resulting data is integrated into the p-diagram, which allows for a fine-grained representation of the speech signal and corresponds with the syntactic module via LFG's parallel projection architecture. The information stored in the p-diagram is extracted in the respective syntactic rules via OT-like phrase structure constraints, which allow for a detailed interpretation of the rather complex results.

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