Multimodal levels of prominence: a preliminary analysis of head and eyebrow movements in Swedish news broadcasts

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding


This paper presents a first analysis of the distribution of head and eyebrow movements as a function of (a) phonological prominence levels (focal, non-focal) and (b) word accent (Accent 1, Accent 2) in Swedish news broadcasts. Our corpus consists of 31 brief news readings, comprising speech from four speakers and 986 words in total. A head movement was annotated for 229 (23.2%) of the words,
while eyebrow movements occurred much more sparsely (67 cases or 6.8%). Results of χ2-tests revealed a dependency of the distribution of movements on the one hand and focal accents on the other, while no systematic effect of the word accent type was found. However, there was an effect of the word accent type on the annotation of ‘double’ head movements. These occurred very sparsely, and predominantly
in connection with focally accented compounds (Accent 2), which are
characterized by two lexical stresses. Overall, our results suggests that head beats might have a closer association with phonological prosodic structure, while eyebrow movements might be more restricted to higher-level prominence and information-structure coding. Hence, head and eyebrow movements can represent two quite different modalities of prominence cuing, both from a formal and functional
point of view, rather than just being cumulative prominence markers.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics


  • focus, beat gesture, focal accent, information structure
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings from Fonetik 2015
Subtitle of host publicationLund, June 8-10, 2015. Working Papers 55. 2015.
EditorsMalin Svensson Lundmark, Gilbert Ambrazaitis, Joost van de Weijer
PublisherCentre for Languages and Literature, Lund University
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch
EventFonetik 2015 - Lund, Sweden
Duration: 2015 Jun 82015 Jun 10

Publication series

NameWorking Papers in General Linguistics and Phonetics
PublisherCentre for Languages and Literature, Lund University
ISSN (Print)0280-526X


ConferenceFonetik 2015

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Related research output

Gilbert Ambrazaitis & David House, 2017, Proceedings of The 14th International Conference on Auditory-Visual Speech Processing (AVSP2017). Ouni, S., Davis, C., Jesse, A. & Beskow, J. (eds.). KTH, 6 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding

Gilbert Ambrazaitis & David House, 2016, p. 319-319. 1 p.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

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Related activities

Gilbert Ambrazaitis (Invited speaker)
2016 Oct 7

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

Gilbert Ambrazaitis (Lecturer)
2016 Sep 17

Activity: Talk or presentationPublic lecture/debate/seminar

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