Cognitive and interactional motivations for prosodic phrasing: A corpus-based analysis of the clause in spoken Israeli Hebrew

Leon Shor


Focusing mainly on elicited narrative discourse, past research has tended to explain prosodic phrasing in terms of underlying cognitive motivations, such as memory constraints and processing limitations. However, when one examines instances of prosodic phrasing in conversational discourse, additional types of motivations emerge, namely interactional ones, reflecting speaker’s awareness of the sensitivity of the situation, of the recipient’s emotional and cognitive state, and of the discourse structure of the conversation. In this paper, instances of clauses realized over several prosodic units will be presented, and underlying motivations of such phrasing will be discussed. The suggested conclusion will be that each instance of prosodic phrasing might exhibit, to a varying degree, both cognitive and interactional motivations, stressing the importance of taking into consideration the communicative context within which the analyzed syntactic structure is embedded.


Prosodic Phrasing; Cognitive Motivations; Interactional Motivations; Speech Management Phenomena

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