Prosody in context: a review

Jennifer Cole*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


Prosody conveys information about the linguistic context of an utterance at every level of linguistic organisation, from the word up to the discourse context. Acoustic correlates of prosody cue this rich contextual information, but interpreting prosodic cues in terms of the lexical, syntactic and discourse information they encode also requires recognising prosodic variation due to speaker, language variety, speech style and other properties of the situational context. This review reveals the complex interaction among contextual factors that influence the phonological form and phonetic expression of prosody. Empirical challenges in prosodic transcription are discussed along with production evidence that reveals striking variability in the phonological encoding of prosody and in its phonetic expression. The review points to the need for a model of prosody that is robust to contextually driven variation affecting the production and perception of prosodic form.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-31
Number of pages31
JournalLanguage, Cognition and Neuroscience
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 7 2015


  • discourse context
  • intonation
  • prominence
  • prosodic phrasing
  • prosodic variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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