I want to know if there is an index or dictionary of sorts that attempts to list and distinguish the prosodic features(?) of English. This seems unlikely to me because of the ambiguity of a single prosodic feature. For instance, a pause in an utterance has a different meaning depending on context. However, I can conceive of a hypothetical study which utilizes a computer program (or many humans) to analyze vast catalogues of spoken English utterances for specific prosodic effects. Does such a list of categorized prosodic effects exist?

  • I made trees for the examples I used when first thinking about this. I will simply give the example and two disambiguating contexts: "Milk spills and chocolate chips" vs "Milk spills and chocolate chips" 1) "I like milk spills and chocolate chips" 2) "I like when milk spills and chocolate chips" The same syntactic structure as in example 1, but nested within a compound phrase: 3) "I like when milk spills and chocolate chips mix" The tendency is to interpret "milk spills and chocolate chips" as two conjoined Noun Phrases, but prosody can disambiguate the two phrases as well as context. – b.t. Nov 14 '13 at 5:47
  • Although I believe that prosody is "acquired" more so than learned (an iffy distinction, but one not pertinent to this question) by second language learners, I think such an index could still be helpful when learning English as a second language. – b.t. Nov 14 '13 at 5:48

As I had the same question, all I could find was the "Dictionary of Prosody" by Alex Preminger:


I was unable to easily find a copy though.

In Portuguese, there is "Dicionário Prosódico de Portugal e Brasil" (1870), by João de Deus de Nogueira Ramos. Again, no easy way to get a copy.

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