Prosodic structure revisited: a cognitive approach

Philippe Martin, UFR Linguistique, Université Paris Diderot

Traditionally in intonation phonology, the sentence prosodic structure is often viewed globally, taking into account all the prosodic events at once from the beginning to the end, without taking into account the sequence of events in function of time. However, from the point of view of the speaker and the listener, the situation is quite different: whereas the speaker can achieve some planning ahead in the production of the prosodic structure of read speech, it is barely the case for the listener, who has to process the linguistic information from the sequence of units perceived one by one along the time scale. In this process, prosodic events are used as signals triggering partial processing of the already perceived syllables by concatenation of strings of already stored units to form larger syllabic groups organized in stress groups. This paper looks in some details into the mechanism of this decoding process, focusing on the role of prosodic events in the specific case of French.