Pilar Prieto

Universitat Pompeu Fabra


Pilar Prieto is an ICREA Research Professor at the Department of Translation and Language Sciences at UPF (Universitat Pompeu Fabra), Barcelona, Catalunya.  After obtaining her doctoral degree in Romance Linguistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Bell Laboratories (Murray Hill, New Jersey), where she continued working on the linguistic meaning of prosody across languages. Since 2008 she coordinates the "Prosodic Studies Group" at the Department of Translation and Language Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

Research interests

My main research goal is to understand the role of prosody and co-speech gestures in human communication from a crosslinguistic, developmental, and cognitive perspective. Three important strands of this research include: (a) to incorporate this knowledge into semantic models of language that model the interface areas with other components; (b) to empirically investigate how humans process prosodic and gestural patterns in combination with speech; and (c) to investigate the cognitive and developmental benefits of prosody and gesture in different areas, such as first and second language acquisition, as well as communication training for language impaired and non-impaired populations. The social significance of this research topic is high, as ICT training procedures based on prosodic and gestural awareness can be proven valuable to improve language abilities in populations with neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by impaired social interaction.  

Selected publications

- Prieto P & Borras-Comes J 2018, 'Question intonation contours as dynamic epistemic operators', Natural Language & Linguistic Theory, 36, 2, 563 - 586.

- Kushch O, Igualada A & Prieto P 2018, 'Prominence in speech and gesture favour second language novel word learning', Language Cognition And Neuroscience, 33, 8, 992 - 1004.

- Llanes-Coromina J, Vilà-Giménez I, Kushch O, Borràs-Comes J & Prieto P 2018, 'Beat gestures help preschoolers recall and comprehend discourse information', Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 172 (8), 168-188.

- Prieto P & Borràs-Comes J 2018, 'Question intonation contours as dynamic epistemic operators'. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory  36 (2), 563-586.

- Armstrong M, Esteve-Gibert N, Hübscher I, Igualada A & Prieto P 2018, 'Developmental and cognitive aspects of children's disbelief comprehension through intonation and facial gestures'. First Language 38(6), 596-616.

- Prieto P & Esteve-Gibert N (Eds.) 2018, The Development of Prosody in First Language Acquisition. John Benjamins: Amsterdam.