About SPRINT

What is SPRINT investigating and how?

The focus of SPRINT is intonation, the modulation of voice pitch. Intonation is essential for communication, as it conveys information that helps listeners make inferences about the intent of the speaker.

​Despite increased understanding of intonation’s importance, there is little agreement even about essential aspects of its structure and meaning. This is in large part because research has focused either on the form of intonation, often taking a reductive approach to meaning, or has concentrated on meaning but without full scrutiny of form. Crucially, most research has eschewed the study of intonational variability, seeing it as a problem, rather than a natural facet of speech production that needs to be understood and accounted for.

 

Examining all three aspects in tandem - form, function, and variability - is critical for understanding how intonation is structured and functions in communication.

FORM

FUNCTION

VARIABILITY

Considering meaning in the study of intonational form can help delimit intonational categories and uncover the limits of within-category variability.

In turn, a robust understanding of form will lead to insights into intonational pragmatics.

SPRINT takes an integrative approach in order to examine intonational phenomena attested in English and Greek that have vexed researchers for some time.
 

Uptalk

High accents

Question tunes

SPRINT employs a variety of methods to investigate intonation both in speech production and processing, aiming to understand and model variability, and develop novel models of intonational phonology and pragmatics.

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SPRINT

SPRINT is the acronym of grant ERC-ADG-835263 titled "Speech Prosody in Interaction: The form and function of intonation in human communication". SPRINT is a 5-year (2019-2024) €2,481,196 research program funded by the European Research Council (ERC). Amalia Arvaniti is the Principal Investigator. SPRINT is currently based at the University of Kent but moving to Radboud University by the end of 2020.

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