ProSlav - Prosody of Slavic Languages

Special Session at Speech Prosody 2014 Dublin

Workshop convenors:
Zofia Malisz (Bielefeld University)
Marzena Żygis (Centre for General Linguistics (ZAS) & Humboldt University, Berlin)

Main themes:

A considerable number of phonetic and phonological phenomena in Slavic languages interact with prosody. Prosodic constituents including syllables, prosodic words and phrases create domains for phonological processes and phonotactic restrictions. Moreover, the edges of these constituents, as well as prominence, influence properties of segments and conversely, prosodic properties are contingent upon segmental properties to some extent. Accumulating evidence gained from laboratory phonological research recently provided new insights into different kinds of phenomena taking place in Slavic languages [cf. e.g. Pouplier and Beňuš, 2011; Iskaraus and Kavitskaya, 2010; Malisz, Żygis and Pompino-Marschall, 2013, Duběda and Keller, 2010]. The special session is going to address these issues in one of its leading themes, namely,  the interaction of segments and prosody.

Further themes of the special session regard the ongoing debates regarding Slavic stress systems [e.g. Peperkamp et al., 2010; Malisz and Wagner, 2012; Newlin-Łukowicz, 2012; Domahs et al., 2013; for Polish] and acoustic correlates of stress and prominence [Andreeva et al. 2012]. Especially analyses that extend beyond pitch, intensity and duration into spectral correlates of stress and prominence in Slavic languages are lacking [c.f. Crosswhite, 2003; Jurgec, 2007]. The special session also invites further research on timing phenomena and rhythmic structure in Slavic phonetics and phonology. Especially, the targeted modeling of Slavic rhythmic systems in both individual languages and comparatively, across the family, will be encouraged [Niebuhr, 2012].

Finally, the session is also aimed at providing new insights to intonation and intonational phonology of Slavic languages [Rathcke, 2013], including creating Slavic ToBI systems or alternatives [Andreeva, 2009; Wagner, 2008] as well as acoustic correlates of information structure [Andreeva and Oliver, 2005].

We would also like to invite submissions on rarely reported on Slavic languages or minority languages from the Slavic family, e.g. Sorbian, Cashubian, Ruthenian, Belarusian as well as studies of dialectal prosody.

The special session provides a forum for discussing recent developments regarding prosodic phenomena in Slavic languages. The following specific questions can be addressed, but are not limited to:

1.    How does word and sentence stress influence segments, phonotactics and phonological processes?

2.    What kind of positional effects are found at the edges of prosodic constituents?

3.    What is the system of phonological representation for intonation from observed features of F0 contours? Which F0 patterns are phonologically distinct in a given language?

4.    What are the areas of controversy regarding potential prerequisites for a ToBI system for a particular Slavic language? 

5.    What  are the acoustic cues of discourse structure elements such as dialogue acts, turn-taking and feedback? How do intonational contours contribute to pragmatic meaning and to information structure?

6.    What are the acoustic correlates of prominence and boundary phenomena?

7.    What are the specifics of Slavic rhythmic structures that could inform and test current approaches to timing and rhythm?

8.    What phonetic evidence underscores or challenges traditional descriptions of Slavic stress systems?


We will welcome empirical, laboratory and corpus-based, original research derived from several possible structural contexts, e.g. from linguistic, information or discourse structure.

The papers will be peer-reviewed. We plan an extended post-conference publication.

Invited speakers:

  • Štefan Beňuš, Constantine the Philosopher University, Nitra and Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava
  • Jaye Padgett, University of California Santa Cruz
  • Tamara Rathcke, University of Kent

Important dates and submission guidelines:

Submission of 4-page papers: open now
Submission deadline: 1st of March
Acceptance/rejection notification: 14th of March (note: early bird registration rates for SP2014 end on the 16th of March)
Camera ready papers: 31st of March

Please submit your papers via EasyChair at:

Paper format follows the Interspeech format. Guidelines and templates can be found at: then go to Call for Papers and scroll down for Author's kit.


Pouplier, M., Beňuš, Š. (2011). On the phonetic status of syllabic consonants: Evidence from Slovak. Laboratory Phonology, 2(2), 243-273.

Iskarous, K., & Kavitskaya, D. (2010). The interaction between contrast, prosody, and coarticulation in structuring phonetic variability. Journal of Phonetics, 38(4), 625-639.

Malisz, Z., Żygis, M., & Pompino-Marschall, B. (2013). Rhythmic structure effects on glottalisation: A study of different speech styles in Polish and German. Laboratory Phonology, 4(1), 119-158.

Duběda, T., & Keller, E. (2005). Microprosodic aspects of vowel dynamics-an acoustic study of French, English and Czech. Journal of Phonetics, 33(4), 447-464.

Peperkamp, S., Vendelin, I., & Dupoux, E. (2010). Perception of predictable stress: A cross-linguistic investigation. Journal of Phonetics, 38(3), 422-430.

Malisz, Z., & Wagner, P. (2012). Acoustic-phonetic realisation of Polish syllable prominence: a corpus study. In D. Gibbon, D. Hirst, & N. Campbell (Eds.), Speech and Language Technology: Vol. 14/15. Rhythm, melody and harmony in speech. Studies in honour of Wiktor Jassem. (pp. 105-114). Poznań, Poland.

Newlin-Łukowicz, L. (2012). Polish stress: looking for phonetic evidence of a bidirectional system. Phonology, 29(02), 271-329.

Bistra Andreeva, William Barry, Magdalena Wolska (2012). Language differences in the perceptual weight of prominence-lending properties. 13th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association, Interspeech 2012, September 9-13, Portland, Oregon.

Domahs, U., Knaus, J., Orzechowska, P., & Wiese, R. (2012). Stress "deafness" in a language with fixed word stress: an ERP study on Polish. Frontiers in Psychology, 3.

Crosswhite, K. (2003). Spectral tilt as a cue to stress in Polish, Macedonian and Bulgarian. Proceedings of the 15th International Conference of Phonetic Sciences, Barcelona, 767-770.

Jurgec, P. (2007). Creaky voice in Slovene. In Manuel González, Elisa Fernández Rei and Begoña González Rei (eds.) III Congresso Internacional de Fonética Experimental. Santiago de Compostela: Xunta de Galicia. 407-420.

Niebuhr, O. (Ed.). (2012). Understanding Prosody: The Role of Context, Function and Communication (Vol. 13). Walter de Gruyter.

Rathcke, T. (2013). On the neutralizing status of truncation in intonation: A perception study of boundary tones in German and Russian. Journal of Phonetics, 41(3), 172-185.

Andreeva, B. (2009). Towards the intonational phonology of the Sophia Variety of Bulgarian, In: Zybatow, Gerhild; Junghanns, Uwe; Lenertová, Denisa; Biskup, Petr (eds.), Studies in Formal Slavic Phonology, Morphology, Syntax, Semantics and Information Structure. Proceedings of FDSL 7, Leipzig 2007. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 357-371.

Wagner, A. (2008). A comprehensive model of intonation for application in speech synthesis. PhD thesis. Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland.

Andreeva, B. & Oliver, D. (2005). Information Structure in Polish and Bulgarian: Accent Types and Peak Alignment in Broad and Narrow Focus, in: Formal Approaches to Slavic Linguistics 13: The South Carolina Meeting 2004, pp. 1-12, ed. Steven Franks, Frank Y. Gladney and Mila Tasseva-Kurktchieva. Ann Arbor, MI: Michigan Slavic Publications.