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

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


Prosodic Organisation and Phrasing After Focus in French

Albert Di Cristo, Ludovic Jankowski

Institut de Phonétique, CNRS ESA 6057 "Parole et Langage", Université de Provence, Aix-en-Provence, France

It is often claimed that Post-Focus sequences in French statements are subject to a pragmatic constraint causing the suppression of any tonal variation in the sequence. In this case, Post-Focus sequences, which are said to be deaccented, are generally described as steadily flat or slightly declining pitch. On the other hand, it is well known that tonal features play a major role in French to signal, namely, both the initial rhythmic accent and syntactic boundaries. They also contribute to disambiguate syntactically ambiguous utterances. This paper aims to put some light on the prosodic organisation and phrasing after focus in French. An experimental analysis of elicited dialogues, in which Broad Focus is contrasted with Post-Focus sequences, reveals that the later are neither fully deaccented nor dephrased. Post- Focus conditions give rise to a specific tonal template (a downstepped pattern) and attribute a primary role to temporal structuring.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Cristo, Albert Di / Jankowski, Ludovic (1999): "Prosodic organisation and phrasing after focus in French", In ICPhS-14, 1565-1568.