Prosodic disambiguation and the scope ambiguity of sentences with negation and disjunction in Dutch

Angeliek van Hout, Jelle Kisjes, Antoine Cochard, Máté Gulás, Jack Hoeksema, Elena Pagliarini, Mieke Sarah Slim, Annika van Wijk, Balázs Surányi

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Work on the prosody-semantics interface has established that prosody can disambiguate sentences, including constructions with a scopal interaction of two logical connectives. Our study presents a novel case, investigating the effect of prosody on the interaction of sentences with negation and disjunction in Dutch. In a perception experiment 46 adult native speakers of Dutch took a forced-choice selection task for Dutch sentences similar to Some children don’t like red or blue. They were given stories that focused on the OR narrow scope (‘neither A nor B’) or the OR wide scope reading ('not A or not B’) and had to select one of two audio recordings of the same sentence that differed prosodically. For the OR narrow scope reading, participants strongly preferred a prosodic contour with neutral accent on OR, whereas for the OR wide scope reading they preferred a rise-fall contour with a pause before OR. These patterns show that prosody plays a role in distinguishing the two readings. This finding contributes new insights from prosody about the nature of a typological distinction between languages where some, like Dutch, prefer the OR narrow scope reading and others the OR wide scope reading.
Idioma originalInglés
Título de la publicación alojadaTABU Festschrift for Jack Hoeksema
Número de páginas37
EstadoPublicada - 19 abr 2024

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