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

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

Tonal Structure and Pitch Targets in Italian Focus Constituents

Mariapaola D'Imperio

Department of Linguistics, The Ohio State University, USA

This work investigates the tonal structure of the focal accent in narrow focus declaratives of Neapolitan Italian. The formal properties of this accent lend themselves to two competing analyses. In fact, this accent can equally be described as a HL accentual fall or as a LH rise. These two analyses were evaluated on the basis of a set of utterances containing focus constituents with varying number of words. Long narrow focus constituents present in fact a medial F0 minimum that appears to be an actual tonal target. This target could might in principle either be part of a HL or of a LH accent. Tonal as well as timing evidence appear to lend support to the LH hypothesis. An important consequence is that the final fall of statement focus constituents must be analyzed as a tonal event which is separate from the nuclear pitch accent and is analogous to the question final fall.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  D'Imperio, Mariapaola (1999): "Tonal structure and pitch targets in Italian focus constituents", In ICPhS-14, 1757-1760.