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Categories and gradience in intonation: A functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging study.

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Iwo Bohr



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of a book chapter that has been published in its final definitive form by John Benjamins, 2015.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


The Autosegmental-Metrical framework (AM) assumes that a distinctionneeds to be made between linguistic phonological information (categorical)and paralinguistic phonetic information (gradient) in intonation. However,empirical evidence supporting this assumption has proved to be elusive so far.In this study we analysed whether the theoretical distinction is reflected inperceptual biases and neural activation in the brain. The results of a combinedbehavioural and neuroimaging study demonstrate that intonational functionindeed activates different but overlapping neural networks with more widespreadactivation for categorical phonological stimuli, especially in middle temporalgyrus bilaterally and left supramarginal and inferior parietal areas. In contrast,for paralinguistic gradient stimuli activation is restricted to right inferior frontalgyrus. These neural differences mirror differences in response times in a listeningexperiment testing categorical perception for the same stimuli. These findingssupport a theoretical model of intonation, such as AM, in which linguistic andparalinguistic information are distinguished.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Post B, Stamatakis EA, Bohr I, Nolan F, Cummins C

Editor(s): Romero, J; Riera, M

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: The Phonetics/Phonology Interface: Sounds, representations, methodologies.

Year: 2015

Volume: 335

Pages: 259-284

Print publication date: 10/11/2015

Acceptance date: 18/08/2015

Series Title: Current Issues in Linguistic Theory

Publisher: John Benjamins

Place Published: Amsterdam


DOI: 10.1075/cilt.335.13pos

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9789027248541