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

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

Focus Identification in English, Greek, and Swedish

Antonis Botinis (1,2), Marios Fourakis (2), Barbara Gawronska (3)

(1) Athens University, Greece; (2) The Ohio State University, USA; (3) Skovde University, Sweden

Three experiments of focus identification are reported one each for American English, Greek and Swedish. In the first experiment, listeners were presented with isolated sentences as well as sentences extracted from question-answer contexts and were asked to identify focus distribution. In the second experiment, questions were paired with prosodically variable answers and listeners were asked to identify the matching pairs. In the third experiment, lexical words were extracted from their sentence context and listeners were asked to identify focalised words. The results indicate the following: (1) isolated sentences have variable focus identifications but no final-focus bias; (2) focus is best identified at non-final position; (3) focus is identified in the question-answer contexts of the corresponding prosodic pairs; (4) lexical words out of immediate sentence context have variable focus identifications.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Botinis, Antonis / Fourakis, Marios / Gawronska, Barbara (1999): "Focus identification in English, Greek, and Swedish", In ICPhS-14, 1557-1560.