Speech styles are particularly characterized by prosodic features, such as rhythm, melody, intensity or vowel quality, which indicate to the listener emotions, attitudes, sociogeographic origin of the speaker. Whatever the speech style, there are some unsuspected rules that are always applied, linked to specific cognitive properties of the brain. Among these, the necessity to segment speech units in chunks called stress groups and assemble these groups into a prosodic structure. Both stress groups duration and their hierarchical organization into a structure are constrained by theta and delta brain waves timing properties. Examples of these limits are illustrated in acoustic analysis of poetic diction showing that whatever the style adopted by readers, cognitive constrains are always observed.



intonation; prosodic structure; stress group; brain waves.



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