Salient in the mind, salient in prosody


Research in psychology has shown that when people are told not to think about a pink elephant they cannot avoid doing just that. Similar results are found for language production in that people leak information about hidden figures when instructed to ignore those figures. It is argued that the salience of information plays a crucial role in these effects. The present study investigates how different factors of salience affect speakers’ lexical and prosodic behaviour. Results indicate that those factors affect lexical use and prosody in different ways and, crucially, that adjectives signalling leaked information are prosodically more prominent, as measured by both by acoustic analysis and prominence ratings.

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