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Saturday, October 12 • 10:55am - 11:20am
Esposito & Xu: Affect and iconicity: Cross-linguistic similarities in the meaning of final syllable lengthening

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Affect and iconicity: Cross-linguistic similarities in the meaning of final syllable lengthening

Final lengthening is a well-attested cross-linguistic component of prosodic structure. But how the cross-linguistic robustness of final lengthening plays out in variation and social meaning is an open question. We identify similarities in meaning for final lengthening between English and Mandarin, calling for more cross-linguistic work on shared social meanings.

A matched-guise perception experiment on final lengthening in English identified links to exaggerated expressivity (flamboyance and emotiveness) for increased final lengthening. Similar meaning were identified for final lengthening in Mandarin. The Mandarin experiment asked participants to perform a range of character types, and those that were associated with flamboyance and exaggerated affective display had more lengthening than other character types.

We suggest that longer final syllable durations are sound-symbolically and cross-linguistically linked to heightened affect through conflations of phonetic and affective expressiveness. We comment on the significance of these findings for a theorization of cross-linguistic similarities in ideological constructions.

Speakers
LE

Lewis Esposito

Stanford University
RX

Robert Xu

Stanford University


Saturday October 12, 2019 10:55am - 11:20am PDT
EMU Cedar & Spruce
  T: Prosody & tone
  • Session type Talk
  • Chair: Kaori Idemaru