Meaning and Context: Prosodic Variations of Interjections in Conversational Speech

Li-chiung Yang, Tunghai University

In this paper we report on our research on the contextual meaning and prosody of three interjections ey, wa, and oh. A detailed qualitative-contextual analysis of our corpus shows that these interjections share important contextual and prosodic characteristics due to their similar functional status with respect to new or unexpected information. We show that there are also significant differences in contextual meaning arising from specific emotional or cognitive states, and that these differences are expressively communicated in the varied prosody of each interjection. Index Terms: prosody, meaning, interjections, discourse