Melodies in context : the semantics and pragmatics of English rising declaratives

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Intonation, in particular, terminal contours, interacts with morphosyntactic features of clause-types (declaratives, interrogatives, imperatives, etc.) to help determine the speech act of the utterance and generate complex additional inferences about the context and the speaker. This dissertation addresses the question of how this comes about, focusing on a particular tune + clause-type combination, namely, rising declaratives of American English. English rising declaratives have been associated with a wide range of seemingly disparate meanings. They may be used as tentative assertions (the so-called 'uptalk' uses, often accompanied by social stigma), and they may be used as biased questions. In the latter case, they can sometimes convey positive epistemic bias of the speaker, but other times may convey negative epistemic bias instead. They often convey particular interactional and social meanings, like speaker politeness, but may also convey opposite social meanings, like speaker annoyance or exasperation. Characterizing the core, conventional effect of rising declaratives that crosscuts all of these varied uses has been a challenge. This dissertation presents a series of experimental studies and a theoretical analysis that reconcile these disparate, potentially conflicting observations that have been made about English rising declaratives data. It establishes the existence of two distinct types of rising declaratives, and derives additional, enriched meanings from the conventional effects of these two clause-types and their interactions with context and pragmatic reasoning.


Type of resource text
Form electronic resource; remote; computer; online resource
Extent 1 online resource.
Place California
Place [Stanford, California]
Publisher [Stanford University]
Copyright date 2018; ©2018
Publication date 2018; 2018
Issuance monographic
Language English


Author Jeong, Sunwoo
Degree supervisor Condoravdi, Cleo A, 1962-
Degree supervisor Potts, Christopher, 1977-
Thesis advisor Condoravdi, Cleo A, 1962-
Thesis advisor Potts, Christopher, 1977-
Thesis advisor Podesva, Robert
Thesis advisor Sumner, Meghan
Degree committee member Podesva, Robert
Degree committee member Sumner, Meghan
Associated with Stanford University, Department of Linguistics.


Genre Theses
Genre Text

Bibliographic information

Statement of responsibility Sunwoo Jeong.
Note Submitted to the Department of Linguistics.
Thesis Thesis Ph.D. Stanford University 2018.
Location electronic resource

Access conditions

© 2018 by Sunwoo Jeong
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).

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