An investigation into gender specifics of communicants’ pitch attunement in natural English conversation
Malvina A. Demina
The present empirical research takes place within the framework of Communication Accommodation Theory, bringing to the fore the prosodic organization of this speech phenomenon. This paper presents some research findings concerning the melodic component of prosodic accommodation in natural conversation.
In this study, prosodic accommodation is viewed from the perspectives of interactional linguistics and conversation analysis with special regard to the phonopragmatic approach. The paper provides the author’s observations about melodic manifestations of speakers’ intentions and presuppositions, as well as the prosodic realization of communicative dominance in natural conversation.
The focus on gender specifics of speech accommodation is communicatively justified since, according to the findings, women and men have gender-related markers of prosodic alignment and employ different melodic strategies in naturally occurring social interaction. Female conversing demonstrates numerous units of recipiency (neutral or affiliating) prosodically designed so as to fit in continuous talk and not to break its coherence. Male talk, on the contrary, may contain instances of melodic divergence and competition for communicative dominance in conversation.
Key words: prosodic accommodation, gender, convergence, divergence, backchannel, self-repetition