Two contours, two meanings: The Intonation of jaja in German phone conversations

A. Golato, Zsuzsanna Fagyal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This paper shows that jaja 'yes yes' sequences in German conversations carry two distinct interactional meanings cued by their intonation and sequential placement. Combined Conversation Analytic (CA) and Intonation Phonological analyses indicate that jaja tokens uttered with H∗ L-% intonation (following GToBI [10]) convey that the previous speaker has persisted too long in a specific course of (verbal) action which should therefore be stopped. By contrast, jaja tokens with L+H∗ L-% intonation are used in situations of fractured intersubjectivity, i.e., immediately after speakers misalign: with the jaja turn, its speaker treats the action/content of the previous speaker's utterance as either unwarranted or self-evident. Speaking rate and regional dialectal differences notwithstanding, the two types of contour show significantly different peak alignment, and correspond to two distinct 'peak accent' nuclear contours.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication3rd International Conference on Speech Prosody 2006
EditorsR. Hoffmann, H. Mixdorff
Place of PublicationDresden
ISBN (Electronic)9780000000002
StatePublished - 2006

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Conference on Speech Prosody
ISSN (Print)2333-2042

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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