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Speech Prosody 2024 includes three workshops.

Prosodic features of language learners' fluency


Website: https://l2fluency.lst.uni-saarland.de/ 
Abstract submission deadline: 8 April
Notification of acceptance: 1 May
Workshop day: 1 July 2024

The aim of this event is to bring together colleagues from two research communities to focus on speech fluency: spoken second/foreign language (L2) on the one hand and speech prosody on the other. In the past, fluency was often ignored in speech prosody research (as reflected in the Handbook of Language Prosody (2022) and also in the Speech Prosody conferences). Moreover, fluency and timing are only rarely treated together with intonation-related aspects in L2 research. However, a broader ranging view on L2 sentence prosody would be beneficial to the construction of theories concerning the acquisition of L2 prosody and applications such as assessments in teaching, exercises for individual learning, assessments and automatic testing of spoken performances.

Likewise, research of language learning does not seem to be very much integrated into speech prosody research. This concerns both theoretical and methodological aspects but also acquisition and annotation of learner data, e.g. in learner corpora.

Thus, the scope of the workshop includes:
• measuring fluency,
• assessment of fluency by human experts, non-experts, and machines,
• learner corpora and annotation of disfluencies,
• elements and combinations of disfluencies (e.g. filler particles, disfluent pauses, lengthenings, repetitions, repairs)
• varying degrees of fluency in different speech styles and tasks,
• fluency and L2 proficiency levels,
• intonational aspects of fluency,
• visual aspects of fluency (e.g. hand-arm gestures, eye-gazing, torso movement),
• teaching methods for fluency improvement in L2 speech production and perception.

Interested colleagues are invited to submit a two-page abstract (first page for text, second page for illustrations, tables, and references) to be reviewed by a small committee (the three organisers plus four more experts). Only oral presentations are planned.

In addition to this workshop, we are discussing the possibility of editing a special (open) issue in a recognised journal (e.g. "Journal of Second Language Pronunciation" or "Studies in Second Language Acquisition") to which we would encourage presenters of workshop papers to contribute.

Invited speakers
Lieke van Maastricht, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands (confirmed)
Malte Belz, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany (confirmed)

Intonation at the crossroads (CROSSIN)


Intonation is studied by different disciplines in which the research focus varies. One element these approaches have in common is that they must all address intonation meaning. This applies whether researchers are mostly interested in the phonological representation of intonation, its interaction with syntax, semantics, and pragmatics, or its role in communication and speech processing. These perspectives complement each other, yet it is often the case that research focusing on one does not give full consideration to the others: for instance, syntactic approaches to the role of intonation in expressing focus may overlook differences in phonological form in focus expression, while pragmatic approaches may assume that each meaning nuance is directly expressed by a different tune; conversely, studies on intonation phonetics and phonology do not always fully consider meaning. 

The aim of this workshop is to reach a more comprehensive view, by bringing together researchers working on intonation from different perspectives so they can enter into dialogue with and learn from one another. The main questions of the workshop are:

  1. What is the relationship between syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and intonation? Can we expect a one-to-one correspondence between intonation categories or tunes, on the one hand, and focus or other semantic or pragmatic functions, on the other?
  2. How can we best understand and model intonation meaning and intonation’s role in conversation and processing?

Keynote speakers: The workshop will include two invited talks each of which will be followed by a commentary approaching the same topic from a different perspective. The invited speakers are: Stavros Skopeteas (Göttingen) and Anja Arnhold (Alberta); the commentators are James German (Aix-Marseille) commenting on Stavros Skopeteas’ talk, and Claire Beyssade (Paris 8) commenting on Ajna Arnold’s talk. The workshop will end with a general round-table discussion.

Call for poster presentations: In addition to the invited talks and commentaries, we invite abstracts for a poster session addressing the questions above. If there is sufficient interest, poster presentations will be published as a special issue or collection. For more information on the workshop, visit https://www.sprintproject.io/crossinworkshop.

Important dates: abstract submission deadline: 31 March; notification of acceptance: 30 April; workshop day: 6 July 2024

Abstract Guidelines
Abstracts should be written in English and should present original research not already submitted to Speech Prosody. The  text should not exceed one A4 page , though an additional page for references, examples, and figures may also be added. The following formatting conventions apply: Times New Roman font, size 12, 2.54 cm (1 inch) margins, single spacing. Submissions should be sent as anonymized pdf files to sprintonation@gmail.com by 31 March 2024 at 24:00 AoE. Please provide author details in your email.

Beyond words: Exploring prosody in non-verbal vocalisations across diverse groups


Communication is a fundamental aspect of life, transcending species boundaries and developmental stages. It relies on various channels in multiple modalities. Both animals and humans share a unique reliance on prosody (i.e. melodic and rhythmic variations) in their vocalisations to express emotions, convey messages, and communicate their needs. In animals, prosodic variations in vocalisatoins are vital for coordinating group activities, signaling danger, finding mates, and ensuring the welfare and survival of the species. In humans, prosody serves as the initial point of contact with language, the mother, and the outside world for unborn children. In the first year or so after birth, it becomes the primary means through which pre-verbal infants communicate with their surroundings, encompassing both cries and non-cry vocalisations. There are also individuals who are non-verbal or minimally verbal (hereafter NMV) and have to rely on prosody in communication due to either developmental or acquired neurological conditions (e.g. autism vs. aphasia).

Although there is increasing research on communication in animals, pre-verbal infants and neurological patients as three distinct groups, few studies have attempted to explore the commonalities and differences across species and within-species groups in the use of prosody.

This workshop aims to bring experts from diverse fields together, including linguistics, animal behavior, developmental psychology, and neuroscience, to explore converging and diverging trends in the use of prosodic parameters among these groups and offer insights into neurobiological underpinnings and communicative functionality.

We invite abstracts for both oral and post-presentations on the following questions and related issues:
·        Abilities: How do different populations use prosodic parameters to communicate?
·        Analysis: How are non-verbal vocalisations in different populations annotated and analysed in different fields?
·        Accounts:  What are the underlying mechanisms and neurological underpinnings that drive the ability to communicate through prosody in these populations?

Important dates 
abstract submission deadline: 15 April 30 April; notification of acceptance: 15 May; workshop day: 6 July 2024 9:00 – 13:00

Abstract Guidelines
Abstracts should be written in English and should present original research not already submitted to Speech Prosody 2024. The text should not exceed one A4 page, including a maximally 300-word long abstract, references, examples and figures. The following formatting conventions apply: Times New Roman font, size 12, 2.54 cm (1 inch) margins, single spacing.

Submissions should be sent as anonymized pdf files to workshop.beyond.words@gmail.com by 15 April 30 April 2024 at 24:00 AoE. Please provide author details in your email.

Workshop flyer

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