Focus, phrase length, and the distribution of phrase-initial rises in French
Date of Issue2010
Speech Prosody 2010
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This study addresses the relationship between information structure and intonation in French. More specifically, it tests whether phrase-initial rises (LHi) are associated with the left edge of contrastively focused constituents in wh-interrogatives. Since LHi distribution has also been correlated with length, the study further examines the relative contribution of constraints operating at two distinct levels: information structure and phonological structure. The results show that each set of constraints makes an independent contribution to the occurrence of LHi, but with no interaction.In other words, LHi is more likely to occur in longer phrases, though phrase length does not influence the extent to which LHi marks focus. The finding of this study represent the first quantitative assessment of focus realization in French in a non-corrective context, and establish a previously undocumented link between LHi and discourse-level meaning.
© 2010 The Authors. This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication in Speech Prosody 2010, published by The International Conference on Speech Prosody on behalf of The Authors. It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: [Article URL: http://speechprosody2010.illinois.edu/papers/100207.pdf].