Structural and Referent-Based Effects on Prosodic Expression in Russian

Tatiana Luchkina, Jennifer S. Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This study examines prosody in read productions of two published narratives by 15 Russian speakers. Two distinct sources of variation in acoustic-prosodic expression are considered: structural and referent-based. Structural effects refer to the particular linearization of words in a sentence or phrase. Referent-based effects relate to the semantic and pragmatic characteristics of the discourse referent of a word, and to grammatical roles that are partially dependent on referent characteristics. Here, we examine referent animacy and the related grammatical function of subjecthood, and the relative accessibility or information status of a word. We document patterns of prosodic augmentation and prosodic reduction due to structural and referent-based factors, as evident from change in values of acoustic-prosodic measures mean intensity, duration and f0 range. Prosodic augmentation due to structural effects is observed for words positioned ex-situ, independent of their semantic, grammatical or pragmatic features. Prosodic augmentation due to referent-based effects is observed for words that are grammatical subjects with animate referents. Prosodic expression is further affected by referent information status. Discourse-given and discourse-new information show greater prosodic augmentation than inferable information. A closer look at individual speakers' production styles reveals that structural and referent-based variations occur in combination and interact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-313
Number of pages35
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'Structural and Referent-Based Effects on Prosodic Expression in Russian'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this