14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)
San Francisco, CA, USA
The use of two markers of prosodic finality in French, vowel lengthening and high vowel breathiness/devoicing, were compared among statements and questions of various types (echo-questions, Wh-questions, questions with inverted subject and verb). The comparison focuses on the relation between sentence-final intonation and the other markers of finality. The intonation pattern of statements and Wh-questions ends with a L% boundary tone; echo questions and inverted questions end with a H% boundary tone, like non-final stress groups. It was hypothesized that because the H% boundary tone of these questions is not unambiguously phrase-final, there would be greater use of other markers of finality. The hypothesis was contradicted by the data: statement-final vowels were more breathy and more likely to be devoiced than question-final vowels. The vowel duration results also suggest that statementfinal vowels were different from question-final vowels regardless of intonation pattern.
Bibliographic reference. Smith, Caroline L. (1999): "Marking the boundary: utterance-final prosody in French questions and statements", In ICPhS-14, 1181-1184.