14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999

Solving A Controversy in the Analysis of French Rising Pitch Movements

Brechtje Post

Centre for Language Studies, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Recent descriptions of French intonation agree that the basic pattern of rising pitch movements can be phonologically analysed as strings of LH melodies. However, they disagree on the number of phonologically contrasting categories that should be identified. The investigation reported in this paper addressed two questions: (1) Can the hypothesis of a three-way phonological contrast between H*H%, H*0% and H*L% be experimentally supported? (2) Can differences in attitude or emotion be detected in phonetically different contours representing phonologically identical intonations? The results of a Categorical Perception experiment, which investigated the question in (1), strongly suggest that the paradigm is unsuited for the investigation of intonational contrasts. A semantic task, administered to answer question (2), suggests that gradiently different F0 variation can be used to signal subtle meaning differences.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Post, Brechtje (1999): "Solving a controversy in the analysis of French rising pitch movements", In ICPhS-14, 965-968.