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

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

Focus and Topic Intonation in Greek

Mary Baltazani, Sun-Ah Jun

Dept. of Linguistics, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA

In this paper, we investigate the phonological and phonetic markers of focus and topic intonation in Greek. We have found that both focus and topic are marked by phrasing, type of pitch accent and boundary tone. One difference between the two is that, on the one hand, focus deletes a boundary after the focus word and de-accents all following words. On the other hand, topicalization creates an IP boundary at the end of the topic phrase. The second difference is that, in declarative sentences, topic has a L* Nuclear Pitch Accent (NPA) followed by a H%, whereas focus has a H* NPA followed by a L%; in interrogatives, the topic NPA is H* followed by L% and the focus NPA is L* followed by the HL% of Greek polar questions. In addition, we found that focus is phonetically marked by lengthening of the whole sentence.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Baltazani, Mary / Jun, Sun-Ah (1999): "Focus and topic intonation in Greek", In ICPhS-14, 1305-1308.