This research investigated the role of accent in spoken discourse comprehension
concerning the effects of correspondence between accent and information structure on spoken discourse comprehension, the internal mechanism and the time coarse of accent effects during spoken discourse comprehension. This research used the methods of auditory moving window technique, cross-model word recognition, double-task paradigm and ERP technique.
The main results were:
1、Compared to neutral accentuation, consistent accentuation speeded up the on-line processing of spoken discourse, inconsistent accentuation slowed down the on-line processing of spoken discourse.
2、Compared to neutral accentuation, consistent accentuation enhanced the activation of new information in discourse representation, hence bring forth a better result of discourse comprehension; although inconsistent accentuation enhanced the activation of old information in discourse representation, it inhibited the activation of new information, hence bring forth a worse result of discourse comprehension. The facilitating and inhibiting effects of accent occurred about 500 ms or 1000 ms after the offset of critical word.
3、During spoken discourse comprehension, what accent influenced was the semantic integration between current word and previous context. Listener interpreted accent at "new-given" semantic level.
4、During spoken discourse comprehension, on the one hand, accent could modulate attention allocation, more attention was directed to information which was accented; on the other hand, accent and deaccent indicate that the information they marked would be interpreted in qualitatively different ways, accentuation leaded listener to interpret the correspondent information from the bottom-up input, deaccentuation leaded listener to try to map the correspondent information onto the restricted set of activated informatidn.
5、During spoken discourse comprehension, accent effect came first which was followed by information structure effect. Shortly after the occurrence of information structure effect, accent and information structure were integrated. Listener began to integrate accent and information structure to interpret discourse when he only heard about half of the accented double-character word.