Short information units

a corpus-based prosodic study on the lexeme “assim” in brazilian portuguese


  • Tommaso Raso Federal University of Minas Gerais
  • Saulo Santos Federal University of Minas Gerais



Information structure, Short information units, Prosody, Corpus


Our main goal is to show that short information units (one phonological word immediately preceded and followed by a prosodic boundary, at least one of which with non-terminal value) can be classified only on the basis of their formal prosodic characteristics. That is to say that lexicon and syntax may vary with respect to the informational function, while what formally marks the informational function is the regularity of the prosodic profile of the lexical item. We also maintain that an information unit corresponds to an intonation unit (except in one specific circumstance). We use just one lexeme for the analysis, the Brazilian Portuguese ASSIM, and extract all the occurrences where this lexeme is found in a dedicated prosodic unit in the C-ORAL-BRASIL corpus. According to our analysis, this lexeme can fulfill at least five different information units, i.e. it can fulfill at least five different linguistic functions, recognizable by their prosodic regularities.


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Author Biography

Tommaso Raso, Federal University of Minas Gerais

PhD in Modern Philology. Language, text and history by Università Di Napoli Federico II, FEDERICOII, Italy. Full Professor in linguistics at the Federal University of Minas Gerais.


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How to Cite

Raso T, Santos S. Short information units: a corpus-based prosodic study on the lexeme “assim” in brazilian portuguese. J. of Speech Sci. [Internet]. 2020 Aug. 26 [cited 2022 Oct. 6];8(2):03-35. Available from:



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