What. What? !WHAT?! - These are just three of the different ways of pronouncing this word and each of these forms has a different meaning, or function. Yet other variants even make it clear that ‘what’ is actually only the beginning of a phrase or clause or sentence.

This advanced course focusses on the relationship between prosody and syntax. We will see that prosody - while somewhat neglected in linguistic study - is perhaps even the more important area of the two, as it often determines the size of the syntactic unit at hand and its meaning. This helps participants in talk-in-interaction to know when to say something, but it is of course also relevant for people who study and describe language structure and use professionally. Needless to say that how something is said also influences what is to say next.

In the course, students will not only deepen and expand their knowledge on (spoken-language) syntax but also gain an understanding of basic prosodic-phonetic parameters (pitch, tempo, loudness etc.) and their role in talk-in-interaction. We will examine how participants employ syntax and prosody to accomplish action(s). This includes both a review of selected relevant literature as well as pilot hands-on analyses. This course will enable students to start their own, independent research on spoken language, e.g. in the second language linguistics course in the Ang_MA_026 module and in connection with a writing course which helps students with their module paper. Parallel participation in all three courses is thus highly recommended.