Excellence in communication skills requires an ability to
appropriately represent the discourse structure including focus, as
well as good comprehension of speaker affect. Both focus and affect
are communicated in large part through prosody, so comprehension and
production of the accompanying prosody is essential. However, past
studies on focus prosody have been both theoretically and
methodologically separated from the research on affect prosody. (In
this chapter, I use the term ‘focus prosody’ to refer to prosodic
phenomena that are either produced or perceived as the cue to a
specific part of speech that conveys the focal content of a message.
This includes ‘narrow focus’, which is defined in terms of the
informational scope (e.g., answers to Wh-questions), and
‘contrastive focus’, which is a subtype of narrow focus that evokes
interpretational alternatives.) This chapter argues that the
suggested difference in the developmental trajectory (i.e., focus
prosody develops slower as compared to affect prosody) may be an
artifact of the perspective divergence, and points out that the
mastery of prosodic skills in both these domains must be necessarily
gradual – though they may not develop
hand-in-hand. A holistic approach that considers the interaction
between affect prosody and focus prosody is proposed as a future
direction of the research on prosodic development within and across
Theoretical division: Fundamental affect function vs. complex
information-structuring function of prosody?
Methodological division: Passive tasks to test affect detection
vs. interactive tasks to test focus comprehension
Slow development of prosodic skills and slow development of
developmental theory: Why does it take so long?
Interaction and integration of affect prosody and focus
(2016) Effects of contrastive accents on children’s
discourse comprehension. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 23, 1589–1595.
Ladd, R. D.
(2008) Intonational phonology (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ma, W., Golinkoff, R. M., Houston, D., & Hirsh-Pasek, K.
(2011) Word learning in infant- and adult-directed
speech. Language Learning and Development, 7, 209–225.
MacWhinney, B., & Bates, E.
(1978) Sentential devices for conveying givenness and
newness: A cross-cultural development study. Journal of Verbal Learning Verbal, 17, 539–558.
Marcus, G. F., Vijayan, S., Bandi Rao, S., & Vishton P. M.
(1999) Rule learning by 7-month-old
infants. Science, 283, 77–80.
Nazzi, T., Jusczyk, P. W., & Johnson, E. K.
(2000) Language discrimination by English-learning
5-month-olds: Effects of rhythm and
familiarity. Journal of Memory and Language, 43, 1–19.
(2003) The production and recognition of emotion in
speech: Features and algorithms. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 59, 157–183.
Owren, M. J., & Rendall, D.
(1997) An affect-conditioning model of nonhuman primate
vocalizations. In D. W. Owings, M. D. Beecher, & N. S. Thompson (Eds.), Perspectives in ethology (Vol. 12, pp.299–346). New York, NY: Plenum Press.
Peppé, S. J. E.
(2009) Aspects of identifying prosodic
impairment. International Journal of Speech-Language
Pathology, 11(4), 332–338.
Peppé, S., & McCann, J.
(2003) Assessing intonation and prosody in children with
atypical language development: The PEPS-C test and the
revised version. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 17, 345–354.
Pihan, H., Tabert, M., Assuras, S., & Borod, J.
(2008) Unattended emotional intonations modulate
linguistic prosody processing. Brain and Language, 105, 141–147.
Prencipe, A., Kesek, A., Cohen, J., Lamm, C., Lewis, M. D., & Zelazo, P. D.
(2011) Development of hot and cool executive function
during the transition to adolescence. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 108, 621–637.
Ross, E. D.
(1981) The aprosodias: functional-anatomic organization
of the affective components of language in the right
hemisphere. Archives of Neurology, 38, 561–569.
Russell J. A.
(1980) A circumplex model of affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 1161–1178.
Sakkalou, E., & Gattis, M.
(2012) Infants infer intentions from
prosody. Cognitive Development, 27, 1–16.
Saffran, J. R., Aslin, R. N., & Newport, E. L.
(1996) Statistical learning by 8-month-old
infants. Science, 274, 1926–1928.
Sauter, D. A., Eisner, F., Calder, A. J., & Scott, S. K.
(2010) Perceptual cues in nonverbal vocal expressions of
emotion. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental
Psychology, 63(11), 2251–2272
Scherer, K. R., & Kappas, A.
(1988) Primate vocal expression of affective
state. In D. Todt, P. Goedeking, & D. Symmes (Eds.), Primate vocal communication (pp.171–194). Berlin: Springer.
Schuller, B., Steidl, S., & Batliner, A.
(2009) The INTERSPEECH 2009 emotion
challenge. Proceedings of the 10th International Speech
Communication Association Annual Conference – Brighton, 312–315.
Schuller, B., Steidl, S., Batliner, A., Burkhardt, F., Devillers, L., Müller, C., & Narayanan, S.
(2010) THE INTERSPEECH 2010 paralinguistic
challenge. Proceedings of the 11th International Speech
Communication Association Annual Conference – Chiba, 2794–2797.
Sekerina, I. E., & Trueswell, J. C.
(2012) Interactive processing of contrastive expressions
by Russian children. First Language, 32(1–2), 63–87.
Shic, F., Macari, S., & Chawarska, K.
(2014) Speech disturbs face scanning in 6-month-old
infants who develop Autism Spectrum Disorder. Biological Psychiatry, 75, 231–237.
Shukla, M., White, K. S., & Aslin, R. N.
(2011) Prosody guids the rapid mapping of auditory word
forms onto visual objects in 6-mo-old
infants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the
United States of America, 108, 6038–6043.
(1980) Contrastive stress and children’s interpretation
of pronouns. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 23, 688–698.
Thiessen, E. D., Hill, E. A., & Saffran, J. R.
(2005) Infant-directed speech facilitates word
segmentation. Infancy, 7, 53–71.
(2015) Developmental trajectory of audiovisual speech
integration in early infancy. A review of studies using the
McGurk paradigm. Psychology of Language and Communication, 19, 77–100.
Trueswell, J. C., Sekerina, I., Hill, N. M., & Logrip, M. L.
(1999) The kindergarten-path effect: Studying on-line
sentence processing in young children. Cognition, 73, 89–134.
Trueswell, J. C., & Tanenhaus, M. K.
(2005) Approaches to studying world-situated language
use. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
(2016) The role of predictability in intonational
variability. Language and Speech, 60, 123–153.
Turnbull, R., Royer, A., Ito, K., & Speer, S. R.
(2017) Prominence perception is dependent on phonology,
semantics, and awareness of discourse. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. DOI:
Vaillant-Molina, M., Bahrick, L. E., & Flom, R.
(2013) Young infants match facial and vocal emotional
expressions of other infants. Infancy, 18(suppl. 1), E97–E111.
Voyer, D., Thibodeau, S-H., & Delong, B. J.
(2014) Context, contrast, and tone of voice in auditory
sarcasm perception. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 45, 29–53.
Vulchanova, M., Foyn, C. H., Nilsen, R. A., & Sigmundsson, H.
(2014) Links between phonological memory, first language
competence and second language competence in 10-year-old
children. Learning and Individual Differences, 35, 87–95.
Walker A. S.
(1982) Intermodal perception of expressive behaviors by
human infants. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 33, 514–535.
Walker-Andrews, A. S.
(1998) Emotions and social development: infants'
recognition of emotions in others. Pediatrics, 102 (5 Suppl E), 1268–1271.
Walker-Andrews, A. S.
(1997) Infants’ perception of expressive behaviors:
Differentiation of multimodal information. Psychological Bulletin, 121, 437–456.
Walker-Andrews, A. S., & Grolnick W.
(1983) Discrimination of vocal expression by young
infants. Infant Behavior & Development, 6, 491–498.
Walker-Andrews A. S., & Lennon, E.
(1991) Infants’ discrimination of vocal expressions:
Contributions of auditory and visual
information. Infant Behavior & Development, 14, 131–142.
Wells, B., Peppé, S., & Goulandris, N.
(2004) Intonation development from five to
thirteen. Journal of Child Language, 31, 749–778.
Werker, J. F., & Tees, R.
(2002) Cross-language speech perception: Evidence for
perceptual reorganization during the first year of
life. Infant Behavior and Development, 25, 121–133.
Wildgruber, D., Ackermann, H., Kreifelts, B., & Ethofer, T.
(2006) Cerebral processing of linguistic and emotional
prosody: fMRI studies. Progress in Brain Research, 156, 249–268.
Zelazo, P. D., & Müller, U.
(2002) Executive function in typical and atypical
development. In U. Goswami (Ed.), Handbook of childhood cognitive development (pp.445–469). Oxford: Blackwell.
Cited by 5 other publications
Hübscher, Iris & Pilar Prieto
2019. Gestural and Prosodic Development Act as Sister Systems and Jointly Pave the Way for Children’s Sociopragmatic Development. Frontiers in Psychology 10
Pronina, Mariia, Iris Hübscher, Ingrid Vilà-Giménez & Pilar Prieto
2021. Bridging the Gap Between Prosody and Pragmatics: The Acquisition of Pragmatic Prosody in the Preschool Years and Its Relation With Theory of Mind. Frontiers in Psychology 12
2023. Expressive Pragmatics and Prosody in Young Preschoolers are More Closely Related to Structural Language than to Mentalizing. Language Learning and Development 19:3 ► pp. 323 ff.
Woodard, Kristina, Rista C. Plate, Michele Morningstar, Adrienne Wood & Seth D. Pollak
2021. Categorization of Vocal Emotion Cues Depends on Distributions of Input. Affective Science 2:3 ► pp. 301 ff.
Zanchi, Paola, Sue Peppé & Laura Zampini
2022. Prosodic development from 4 to 10 years: Data from the Italian adaptation of the PEPS-C. Speech Communication 144 ► pp. 10 ff.
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 18 november 2023. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers.
Any errors therein should be reported to them.