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

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


Prosodic Markers of Regional Group Membership: The Case of the French of Québec versus France

Lucie Ménard (1,2), Conrad Ouellon (1,2), Jean Dolbec (1,3)

(1) Centre international de recherche en aménagement linguistique, Canada
(2) Université Laval, Canada; (3) Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Canada

The present study focuses on the influence of prosodic markers in the perception of regional variation. Our objective is twofold: on the one hand, we propose to evaluate how prosodic components play a part in the regional recognition of French speakers of Quebec and France. On the other hand, we plan to identify a set of prosodic markers of the geographical origin. The analysis was carried within a listener-oriented framework. Accordingly, we postulate that the prosodic parameters are declared “markers” only if they are perceived, by judges, as components associated with one or another of the two geographical origins. The results highlight the positive role of prosody in regional recognition. It is also shown that register, defined as the pitch height, constitutes the principal marker of origin. More detailed analysis performed in an ambiguous acoustical space revealed the importance of the pitch range exploited by speakers, as well as the melodic configurations of unaccented syllable sequences.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Ménard, Lucie / Ouellon, Conrad / Dolbec, Jean (1999): "Prosodic markers of regional group membership: the case of the French of québec versus france", In ICPhS-14, 1601-1604.