Visual Grouping and Prosodic Grouping: Effects of Spatial Information on Prosodic Boundary Strength

Edward Holsinger, David Cheng-Huan Li, Elsi Kaiser and Dani Byrd, University of Southern California

We report two psycholinguistic experiments investigating whether grouping information presented in the visuo-spatial modality influences language production – in particular, whether different visual groupings influence the prosodic groupings that speakers produce. We used a picture-description task where three objects were grouped in different ways, and investigated whether spoken descriptions of objects that are spatially closer to each other are separated by weaker prosodic boundaries than descriptions of objects that are further apart. Our results suggest that prosodic boundary strength is influenced by the distance between objects, and that visual input influences linguistic production at the level of prosodic boundaries.