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The structure imposed upon spoken sentences by intonation seems frequently to be orthogonal to their traditional surface-syntactic structure. However, the notion of "intonational structure" as formulated by Pierrehumbert, Selkirk, and others, can be subsumed under a rather different notion of syntactic surface structure that emerges from a theory of grammar based on a "Combinatory" extension to Categorial Grammar. Interpretations of constituents at this level are in turn directly related to "information structures", or discourse-related notions of "theme", "rheme", "focus" and "presupposition". Some simplifications appear to follow for the problem of integrating syntax and other high-level modules in spoken language systems.
Mark Steedman, "Structure and Intonation in Spoken Language Understanding", . April 1990.
Date Posted: 21 August 2007