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May 30, 2019

University of Kent linguist receives research grant of over £2m

University of KentA professor at the University of Kent has been awarded a grant of over £2m (nearly €2.5m) to investigate linguistic phenomena such as ‘uptalking’.

Professor Amalia Arvaniti is a linguist in the School of European Culture and Languages (SECL) at the University of Kent, and specialises in the study of intonation and the ways in which people use pitch to indirectly communicate meaning. She has been awarded €2.48m (£2.126m) from the European Research Council (ERC) for SPRINT, a five-year research project entitled ‘Speech Prosody in Interaction: The form and function of intonation in human communication’.

Professor Arvaniti explains, “Intonation can have a dramatic impact on how an utterance is interpreted, but we do not yet know exactly how this process works because studies have focused either on the form of pitch changes or on their meaning; SPRINT will take an integrative approach, studying both from and meaning in tandem, an approach that we hope will lead to a breakthrough with significant consequences for understanding speech communication.”

The project will employ four post-doctoral researchers who will study a number of intonation phenomena alongside Professor Arvaniti. The intonation research will be studied in English and Greek, using tests covering speech production, perception, processing and pragmatics.

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Content added on 30th May 2019. 

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