POW Tutorial 1
Introduction to Chunking

What is chunking?

One function of prosody is to divide speech into chunks, so that each chunk sounds complete. Prosodic chunks are variously known as information-units, tone-units, tone-groups, intonational phrases, or word groups.

Chunking prosody can be done in various ways, but the sound of it and its communicative function can be recognised when it shows different meanings of two otherwise identical utterances, e.g.

coffee cake and honey    

where coffee and cake form one chunk: coffee-cake.

coffee cake and honey    

where coffee is one chunk and cake another.

Chunking prosody is present on any complete utterance: the sound-chunks may correspond to syntactic units, such as phrases and clauses, but not necessarily.

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