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Prominence in French Dual Focus.

Authors
  • Destruel, Emilie1
  • Féry, Caroline2
  • 1 University of Iowa, USA.
  • 2 Goethe University, Germany. , (Germany)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Language and speech
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2021
Volume
64
Issue
2
Pages
319–345
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1177/0023830919892024
PMID: 31920161
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

This paper investigates how French signals prominence in prosody in the post-verbal domain of sentences with two objects or two adjuncts that vary in information status and prosodic length. The information status of particular interest here is dual focus, defined as the presence of two foci in a mono-clausal sentence, but other information states are investigated as well. The controlled production experiment we report on allows for a detailed examination of prosodic prominence. High boundary tones at the end of non-final prosodic phrases are pervasive, as has been documented in many studies before the present one. An important but less documented result is the variation in different prosodic curs, in particular in the number and position of high tones, as well as the particular scaling relationship between them, providing a powerful tool for the expression of (dual) focus. We also report on a perception experiment with our data, showing a clear tendency for French listeners to select the intended context question, recognizing dual focus better than other information states. Overall, this article provides elements of answers as to why French prosody is so difficult to pin down, and why contradictory results and analyses have been proposed for this language.

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